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Frias' gem wasted as Isotopes bullpen implodes again

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The Albuquerque Isotopes needed a big-time pitching performance to avoid a series sweep Monday afternoon. Carlos Frias stepped up and gave them just that, only to see reliever Jose Dominguez squander his good work in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Fresno Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies (16-16) won their ninth straight and swept the four-game series. The last time the Isotopes (15-16) were swept at home was in 2006.

"It's just a shame that we let that one slide right there," manager Damon Berryhill said. "You get a quality start out of a young pitcher like that, you want him going out with a good note, a good taste in his mouth. We didn't get it done."

Frias allowed just a solo home run to Adam Duvall in seven innings of work. He scattered four additional hits, never more than one per inning, walked one and struck out two.

"It was an outstanding start, really just much better than his first start," Berryhill said. "Obviously stayed away from the one big inning. But pitch selection, location, just a lot more confidence this time out. That was really good."

It should have been enough for Albuquerque and Paco Rodriguez followed with a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Then came Dominguez (1-2) in the ninth with an outing the Isotopes would sooner forget.

The hard-throwing right-hander gave up a leadoff single to Nick Noonan, walked Adam Duvall and then gave up a single to Chris Dominguez, no relation, to load the bases. Pinch hitter Tyler Colvin then smoked a two-run single to right field that tied the game.

If that was bad, the next play was worse. Guillermo Quiroz hit a blooper that landed in left field, scoring Chris Dominguez with the go-ahead run. Colvin bolted from first to third, but the futile throw home bounced past catcher Griff Erickson, enabling Colvin to score an insurance run on the fielding error.

"He didn't have his command," Berryhill said of Dominguez. "I mean he didn't really have fastball command. That hurt him."

Dominguez has been up and down with the Dodgers four times this season. Still, that is not a good excuse, Berryhill said.

"He's had five days rest," Berryhill said. "He's fresh. He's got to be sharper. That's one of the reasons he's been on the up and down roller coaster. He's got to learn to command that fastball better."

The Albuquerque bats were largely held in check by Mike Kickham and a pair of Fresno relievers. Jamie Romak had a two-out, RBI single in the first inning, while Erickson and Clint Robinson each hit solo home runs in the fourth and eighth innings, respectively.

"It's tough because I think the last five games they've put up big innings against us," Berryhill said. "We're right there. We've had plenty of opportunities, we've just come up short with that big hit."

The Isotopes will try to regroup with Sacramento coming to town for four games starting Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. Red Patterson (1-1, 4.15 ERA) gets the nod against the River Cats' Arnold Leon (2-1, 4.34).

Around the Lab

Frias, who had been on the Ogden roster, and Dominguez, back from the big leagues, were both activated before the game. To make room, right-hander Steve Smith was moved to Ogden and right-handed reliever Nick Struck was demoted to Double-A Chattanooga. ... Second baseman Alex Guerrero did not start for the third straight game, appearing only as a pinch hitter. "He's had a little upper shoulder, back issue," Berryhill said. "I just wanted to give him a couple days off, get the soreness out of there. He'll be in there (Tuesday)."

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