ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico - Xavier Scruggs blasted a go-ahead, two-run homer in the ninth to help Memphis past Albuquerque by a 5-3 score on Tuesday night at Isotopes Park.
After Scott Moore got hit to lead off the ninth for a league-leading 18th time, Scruggs took Scott Elbert's 2-1 pitch and drilled it over the leftfield wall for his 16th long ball of the season and only hit of the night.
It was Scruggs' eighth home run in his last 31 games and gave him 49 RBIs since June 1. The win jolted the Redbirds record to 66-58, a season-best eight games above the .500 mark.
Albuquerque jumped out to the early lead, plating two runs against Tim Cooney. Mike Baxter took the second pitch from Cooney over the centerfield wall and the 'Topes added another in the inning via a sacrifice fly from former Redbird Jamie Romak.
Three of the five hits that the Isotopes had off of Cooney came in that first inning. The left-hander settled in nicely for the remainder of the game, despite allowing his 17th home run. He managed to toss six innings, fanning four and walking one, taking a no-decision.
The Redbirds' offense staggered at the beginning of the game, but ended up outhitting the home team, 9-8. They put up a run in the fourth when Moore singled in Tommy Pham who had doubled to lead-off the frame.
Memphis then claimed the lead in the sixth. Randal Grichuk singled with one out in the inning to extend his hitting streak to a season-high twelve games. After Moore was retired, Piscotty stepped up and hammered the ball over the left-centerfield wall. It was the outfielder's eighth homerun of the season and it gave the visitors a 3-2 advantage.
Albuquerque did not go away though. After leaving a runner stranded on at second to end the seventh, Dean Kiekhefer faced the Dodgers' top prospect Joc Pederson in the eighth. The outfielder took the first pitch of his at-bat over the 372 foot sign in left field. It was Pederson's 27th homer of the season and the game was knotted at 3-3.
Eric Fornataro (4-4) came in and got the win with 0.2 shutout innings though, leaving runners at second and third to finish the eighth. Jorge Rondon grabbed his seventh save with a flawless ninth.
The two teams are back at it again tomorrow at 7:35 pm. The Redbirds will send Marco Gonzales (2-1, 3.45) out for the start. The Isotopes will counter with right-hander Barry Enright (0-2, 8.04).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.