ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico - Memphis gave out a beat down on Thursday night and outslugged Albuquerque for a 17-7 win at Isotopes Park.
Xavier Scruggs (4-for-6, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 2B) and Pete Kozma (4-for-6, 4 RBI, 2 R, 2B) led the offensive onslaught with four hits apiece. By the end of the slugfest, five of the eight Memphis starting position players had notched multi-hit games and every player in the lineup had scored or driven in at least one run. The 'Birds tied their season-high hit total in the victory, recording 21 hits for the third time this season.
Scruggs became only the second player on the Redbirds to score four runs in a game this season, joining outfielder Shane Robinson. His 11 total bases was the most by a Memphis player in 2014 and he became only the second Redbirds player this season to record multi-homer games, a feat Scott Moore has done three times. The slugger extended his hitting streak to 10 games and Memphis' record improved to 13-3 in contests that he goes yard.
The Redbirds ended the game 9-for-19 with runners in scoring position and hit a home run for the sixth consecutive game as a team, tying a season-high.
The win allowed Memphis (68-58) to keep pace with the division-leading Nashville Sounds, remaining only a half-game behind the cross-state rival.
Albuquerque looked as if they would run the contest on Thursday night, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Former Redbird Brock Peterson had an RBI double and Clint Robinson recorded a sacrifice fly in the frame.
Memphis got their retribution though, starting a string of four consecutive multi-run innings.
The 'Birds opened the second inning with four extra-base hits and took a 3-2 lead. Stephen Piscotty (4-for-6, 2B, 3 R) doubled for the 29th time this season and Scruggs followed with his first home run of the night. Ed Easley (1-for-4, 3B, 2 BB, 3 R) then nailed a stand-up triple to right and Kozma drove him in with a two-bagger.
The Isotopes retook the lead for the final time of the night thanks to Joc Pederson's third home run of the series. It was the 29th of the season for the outfielder and it had the home team ahead 5-3.
Then Memphis broke the flood gates open.
The visitors plated seven runs in the third, batting around for the first of two times on the night. Moore and Piscotty led off with singles and Scruggs delivered an RBI double. After Easley walked, Kozma hit a two-run single that made it through the middle of the infield. It was Kozma's sixth hit with the bases loaded this season, bumping him to a .500 average and giving him 12 RBIs in the situation.
Greg Garcia followed Kozma with a single and Tommy Pham ended the big inning with a triple, his team-leading fifth of the season. The seven-run outburst was only the third time that Memphis had scored seven or more in an inning, after plating eight runs in a frame twice this season.
The Redbirds got two in the fourth, capped by Scruggs' third hit and another Kozma RBI and then recorded five more in the fifth.
Pham, Moore and Piscotty all singled and it gave way to another launching pad at home plate. Scruggs made it an even 4-for-4 with a no doubt shot over the left centerfield part of the outfield wall. It was the first baseman's second dinger of the game and it gave him six RBIs. The scoring did not stop there, as the inning even saw starting pitcher Tyler Lyons getting in on the action with a hit.
Lyons was able to help himself with the single, but the 17 runs of support proved plenty of cushion. The left-hander improved to 8-1 on the season and picked up his sixth win in his last six outings, the longest winning streak by a Redbirds' pitcher this year. He battled through six innings of work, giving up seven runs on a career-high 13 hits. He fanned five, walked one and added his first RBI of the season at the plate.
Zach Petrick made it through the final three innings untouched and recorded his first save since June 10, 2013, when he was a part of the Advanced-A Palm Beach Cardinals.
The series will conclude tomorrow at 8:05 pm at Isotopes Park. Memphis will send Carlos Martinez (1-0, 0.00) out to face off against Albuquerque right-hander Matt Magill (7-5, 4.89).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.