Early in Saturday's game, Ivan De Jesus Jr. and his Albuquerque teammates were marveling at the offensive prowess of the Sacramento River Cats. By the end of the night, the Isotopes were impressed by their own resilience.
De Jesus delivered the tying single with two outs in the ninth inning, then scored the winning run in the 12th as Albuquerque overcame an 11-run deficit to stun Sacramento, 13-12.
The River Cats were coming off Friday's doubleheader sweep in which they outscored the Isotopes, 26-8. They appeared headed to another rout Saturday, scoring eight times in the second inning and building a 12-1 lead in the fifth.
"It was just getting crazy," De Jesus said. "We were just saying it was amazing how they were hitting the ball. It was swing, swing, base hit; for us, it was swing, swing, it's an out."
Albuquerque began the biggest comeback in team history in the sixth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Xavier Paul and John Lindsey. Mike Rivera hit a solo homer in the seventh and J.D. Closser and Trent Oeltjen came through with run-scoring singles in the eighth to make it 12-7.
Still, Sacramento was 52-3 when taking a lead into the ninth and the Isotopes were 2-44 when trailing after eight. But Paul started the inning with a single, moved up on a one-out wild pitch and scored on another base hit by Closser.
Jon Hunton replaced reliever Edwar Ramirez and got Russ Mitchell to pop up, leaving the River Cats one out from a third straight win. But Jamie Hoffmann doubled and shortstop Steven Tolleson's error allowed Closser to score.
Six times, the Isotopes were down to their final strike. But Juan Castro fouled off five pitches, including four in a row, before stroking an RBI single to left field.
"For me, that was the game in that situation," De Jesus said. "Castro had a great at-bat the last two at-bats. He put the ball in play, got a base hit and an RBI."
Also down to his last strike, Oeltjen singled home Rivera to make it 12-11 and leave it up to De Jesus, who stranded six runners while going hitless in his first five plate appearances.
"I was struggling at the beginning of the game," he admitted. "I had to concentrate a little bit more."
Once again, Hunton got within a strike of ending the game before De Jesus hit a 1-2 pitch into left field to force extra innings.
"I got to two strikes, got the hole, got the RBI and tied the game," he said.
After throwing out the potential go-ahead run at the plate on a fielder's choice in the top of the 12th, De Jesus opened the bottom half by lining a single to center. Lindsey delivered a one-out double and Closser hit the next pitch into left field to end the five-hour marathon.
"We never go to sleep," De Jesus said. "We're just going to fight, fight, fight until we get the win."