The Albuquerque Isotopes (42-32) staged another late comeback attempt with three runs in the ninth inning, but the Oklahoma City RedHawks (32-43) held on for an 8-6 win Thursday night at Isotopes Park. The defeat marks the first time the 'Topes have lost two straight games at home since May 3-4.
The game also featured the second rehab appearance of Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton, who after yielding a lead-off single and stolen base, proceeded to strike out the side in the first frame, his only inning of work. The big right-hander tossed 22 pitches, 14 of them for strikes and hovered between 92-96 mph on the radar gun.
Down 8-3 in the ninth, the Isotopes started the frame with a bang as Jay Gibbons hit a solo home run to right that cut the Oklahoma City edge to 8-4. Eugenio Velez then struck out but the pitch from 'Hawks reliever Jose Valdez was wild and eluded catcher Robinson Cancel, allowing Velez to reach first. After a second wild pitch allowed Velez to take second, Jerry Sands roped a single to left, plating the runner and bringing the 'Topes to within 8-5. Sands then moved to second on a base hit from J.D. Closser, which brought the end of Valdez's night in lieu of Oklahoma City closer David Carpenter. Trayvon Robinson promptly drew a four-pitch walk off Carpenter to load the bases with just one down for Jamie Hoffmann, who skied a sacrifice fly to right that cut the lead to 8-6. With Corey Smith now at the plate, Carpenter unleashed a wild pitch, the third of the inning, that allowed both runners to move into scoring position with Robinson representing the tying run at second. Carpenter had the last laugh, however, striking out Smith on a check-swing to end the game preserve the 8-6 RedHawks win.
Albuquerque opened the night's scoring with a pair of runs in the second inning. With one out, Hoffmann doubled to left field and then advanced to third on a wild pitch from Oklahoma City starting pitcher Gustavo Chacin. Smith then crushed a 3-1 pitch over the left field fence, putting the 'Topes on top 2-0.
But the lead was short-lived as the RedHawks plated two of their own in the top of the third. With runners on second and third with one out, Brian Bogusevic lined a single up the middle, plating both runners with ease and knotting the contest at 2-2.
The game stayed that way until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Albuquerque took the lead again. Ivan De Jesus, Jr. singled to start the inning and after going to second on a groundout, Closser knocked a base hit to center that sent him home, putting the 'Topes up, 3-2.
But in the eighth inning, the RedHawks erupted for five runs to take control. After back-to-back singles to start the frame, Tommy Manzella doubled down the left-field line, scoring Bogusevic as Cancel cruised into third. With the game now tied at 3-3, Anderson Hernandez put Oklahoma City ahead with a two-run single to right-center, making the score 5-3 'Hawks. Two batters later, Wladimir Sutil was hit by a pitch and then Drew Locke singled to load the bases for pinch hitter Brandon Barnes, who hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-3, Oklahoma City. Locke was then caught stealing second base while Delome was at the plate, but Sutil managed to score before the third out, making it 7-3, RedHawks. The visitors would tack on one more in the ninth with an RBI double from Cancel to put the visitors on top 8-3.
Reliever, and former Isotope, Ross Wolf (1-2) earned the win for Oklahoma City, while Travis Schlichting (3-2) took the loss in relief for Albuquerque after surrendering the five runs in the eighth. Carpenter (8) ended up with his second save in as many nights.
The Isotopes will wrap up their series with the RedHawks hoping for a split behind veteran right-hander Ian Snell (0-0, 4.50), who will take the hill for Albuquerque against Oklahoma City righty Nelson Figueroa (4-3, 4.75). First pitch from Isotopes Park is 7:05 PM.
Albuquerque's eight-game homestand finishes strong with Isotopes beanie hats to the first 3,000 fans on Friday courtesy of Coca-Cola. 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.