The Albuquerque Isotopes (1-2) had trouble mustering offense as they were held to just two hits by a trio of Omaha Royals (2-1) pitchers in a 9-0 loss on a frigid Saturday night at Isotopes Park.
O-Royals starting pitcher Heath Phillips weaved his way through six scoreless innings, allowing the Isotopes just one hit, a sharp single by Jason Repko in the first inning. The left-handed Phillips (1-0) retired 15 of 16 batters beginning in the second through the sixth and did not allow a runner past second en route to his first victory of the season.
Omaha started the scoring in the first inning when J.R. House hit an RBI double that caromed off the fence down the left field line. Repko collected the ball and immediately fired it home to catcher Danny Ardoin, but the throw was an instant too late to get former Isotope Tommy Murphy streaking from third and the Royals grabbed a 1-0 lead.
Like his O-Royals counterpart, 'Topes starter Eric Milton pitched solidly as well, allowing just three hits through his four frames and retired seven straight from the second through the fourth innings.
However, Milton ran into trouble in the fifth. After giving up two consecutive hits, he surrendered a three-run home run to Mitch Maier that sailed into the berm in right field, extending the Omaha advantage to 4-0 and ending the left-handed starter's night. In four-plus innings Milton (0-1) allowed four runs on six hits while walking one and striking out an early season-high seven.
Phillips was replaced by Carlos Rosa, who was just as effective, allowing just an infield hit to Xavier Paul in two scoreless innings of relief. Dusty Hughes closed out the game with a hitless ninth, keeping the 'Topes' prodigious offense stymied to just a pair of knocks all night.
Meanwhile, the Royals added runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth, including a two-run homer by House, to cap the scoring at nine runs.
Albuquerque will look to even the series against Omaha tomorrow, April 12. Right-handed knuckleballer Charlie Haeger (0-0, No ERA) takes the mound for the Isotopes against fellow right-hander Brandon Duckworth (0-0, No ERA) in a 1:35 PM start from The Lab.
More great promotions continue this weekend as the Isotopes play the final game against the Omaha Royals. Tomorrow, April 12, the 'Topes will wear their special Dodger Blue jerseys for the first time this season. Kids 12 and under will also get a chance to take part in an Easter Egg Hunt beginning at 12:45 on the field and continuing until supplies last. Tickets for any Isotopes game may be purchased at the Isotopes Park Box Office, at Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or on-line at www.albuquerquebaseball.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.