A trio of pitchers conspired to hold the potent Albuquerque Isotopes (5-6) offense scoreless as the Omaha Royals (6-5) edged the 'Topes 3-0 on a frigid Sunday afternoon at Rosenblatt Stadium. Albuquerque was held to just three hits on the day, two of which were delivered by Hector Luna.
For the second straight game, Omaha got on the scoreboard first when former Isotope Tommy Murphy started a rally with a one-out double in the bottom of the third. After Tug Hulett walked, Albuquerque starter Miguel Pinango lost his balance during his wind-up for balk that moved both runners into scoring position. Travis Metcalf then lifted a deep fly to right that was tracked down at the wall after a long run by Jason Repko as Murphy trotted home from third on the sac fly to give the Royals a 1-0 edge.
Omaha would strike again the fifth thanks once again to Hulett, who started things off by roping a one-out double. Two batters later, slugging first baseman Kila Ka'aihue launched a mammoth homer to right that increased the Royals lead to 3-0.
The three-run cushion was plenty for the triumvirate of O-Royals pitchers, who held the Isotopes to three hits and two walks while striking out seven. Starter Brian Bannister pitched two scoreless innings before Josh Newman came on and tossed three scoreless frames, allowing a pair of hits and a pair of walks while striking out two. Newman (1-0), who earned the win, then gave way to Lenny DiNardo (2), who wrapped up his second save of the year after pitching four innings in which he allowed a hit while striking out four.
Luna accounted for most of the Isotopes' attack on the day, roping a single in the third and a double in the fifth. Repko added a single in the top of the sixth for Albuquerque's third hit.
'Topes starter Pinango (1-2) turned in a solid outing despite suffering his second straight defeat. The right-hander allowed the three runs on seven hits in a season-high six innings while walking four and striking out five.
The Isotopes will wrap up their four game series in Omaha tomorrow with a morning matinee before heading to Des Moines, Iowa immediately after the game. Right-hander Giancarlo Alvarado (0-1, 5.59) takes the mound against Royals ace Luke Hochevar (2-0, 2.45) with first pitch slated for 10:05 AM Mountain Time. All the action can be caught on 1050 AM KTBL or the live stream is available on www.albuquerquebaseball.com.
Albuquerque returns home on April 30 for a homestand with the Round Rock Express, Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, that includes a hat giveaway, and the first post-game fireworks show of the young season. 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 www.albuquerquebaseball.com or www.ticketmaster.com. For more information or for a complete list of 2009 promotions visit www.albuquerquebaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.