Savage hits, pitches way to perfect 5-0

Isotopes' right-hander homers, plates three in five solid innings

By David Heck / Special to | May 3, 2012 9:57 PM ET

Will Savage came into Thursday night's game with two total bases in 56 career plate appearances. With one swing of the bat, he tripled that output.

The Dodgers prospect stroked a two-run homer and plated a run with a sacrifice bunt while pitching five solid frames as the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes trounced the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 15-5.

Savage, who attended the University of Oklahoma, had never previously recorded RBIs in his career. Overall, the 27-year-old right-hander allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks as he improved to 5-0 on the season.

"It feels good," Savage said. "I take pride in being able keep the team in the ballgame. Any time you're able to get a 'W,' you know that you gave your team a chance to win."

Savage started off shakily, allowing three runs to score in the first inning. Fernando Martinez hit a two-out single to right field, which Scott Moore followed with a double to left before Justin Ruggiano smacked a homer over the left-field wall.

Savage settled down after that, however, giving up only one more run when Moore led off the third with a double and Jimmy Paredes plated him with an RBI single two batters later. The California native threw 61 of 93 pitches for strikes on the day, fanning three.

"Today was one of my rougher outings," Savage said. "I'd say my changeup was the pitch that got me out of some jams. It's a go-to pitch of mine that I'm able to use to keep the batters off-balance. The defense played great for me and we got the win."

The Isotopes lineup made things less stressful for Savage, putting up three runs in the second and seven in the third. The pitcher was part of the offense in both innings, laying down a bunt in the second and connecting on a one-out longball to left field in the third.

"It's kind of a blur," Savage said. "I got behind the count, I think it was 1-2. I looked for something out over the plate and made good contact. At first, I thought it was a deep fly out to left, but as I rounded first, I saw the ump signaling home run. It was pretty exciting."

Savage came into the game with just a .045 average -- he recorded one single last year and one this year.

"It's amazing," said Savage, who is now batting .222 this year. "It's an unbelievable feeling. It's still kind of surreal -- I didn't think I had it in me. I feel like I'm seeing the ball a lot better after having a few at-bats under my belt. I'm just trying to get a swing on it and put the ball in play. Good things happen when you put the ball in play."

Scott Van Slyke and Jerry Sands were also important offensive cogs for Albuquerque on Thursday. Van Slyke went 3-for-5 with two homers, four RBIs and three runs scored -- raising his average to .340 -- while Sands went 3-for-5 with two triples, two RBIs and two runs.

"They mean everything," Savage said. "Those guys are the meat of our lineup. When they're going, the rest of the 'Topes are going. To get those guys going is huge for the Isotopes. We really thrive on them having success."

Playing at Triple-A for the first time, Savage now owns a 3.34 ERA with 15 strikeouts and 10 walks in 29 2/3 innings. For the rest of the year, he said his goal on the mound is to pitch deep into games and give his team a chance to win.

Hitting-wise? That's another story.

"I hope [to get] at least one more [extra-base hit]," he said. "That's going to be my goal from here on out. But playing here in Albuquerque, you never know. Maybe I could get up to double digits. We'll see."

David Heck is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More