The Albuquerque Isotopes closed out an otherwise forgettable homestand on a high note Monday afternoon. They have Carlos Frias to thank for that.
"Carlos, an outstanding start, probably by far his best start of the season," manager Damon Berryhill said. "(Catcher Tim Federowicz) did a really nice job with him behind the plate. He really mixed pitches well, had a nice breaking ball working. Curveball and slider. Showed a quality change."
The only run off Frias came in the first inning. Former Isotope Matt Angle hit a pop-up that the wind and sun made impossible to catch as it dropped into shallow center field for a double. Two batters later Angle scored on Mark Canha's groundout to third base.
"I was consistent," Frias said. "First-pitch was a strike, working down in the zone, attack the hitter."
Frias gave up a single to Kyle Jensen that was then wiped out by a 4-6-3 double play in the second inning. Josh Rodriguez then hit a triple, but he was left stranded as Juan Diaz struck out.
From there, Frias had a stretch where he retired 18 of 19 batters. Only Diaz managed to get on base via a slow-rolling single through the left side.
"He did a great job today," Federowicz said. "He was commanding all of his pitches, commanding the strike zone. He gave us eight strong innings."
While Frias was doing his part, the rest of the Isotopes (32-39) were jumping all over Zephyrs starter Brian Flynn (6-5). The lefty, rated as the Miami Marlins' No. 6 prospect by Baseball America, ended up allowing eight runs, seven earned, on 11 hits and two walks in five innings.
Albuquerque tagged Flynn for four runs in the first inning, including RBI singles by Joc Pederson and Alex Liddi. Federowicz blasted a two-run homer in the second inning and the final two runs came across in the fifth.
"That's kind of what we've been talking about the last couple weeks, it's not about hitting a solo home run or this and that, it's about putting hits together and picking your teammates up," Berryhill said of the first inning. "That's kind of what you need in this league."
Clint Robinson went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer to pace the Isotopes at the plate, while Liddi was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Trayvon Robinson and Pederson each had two hits and two runs scored.
"He's been, the last seven days, really swinging the bat well for us," Berryhill said of Clint Robinson, who is 15-for-31 over the last seven games. "He's hot right now. He's getting a lot of those jam-shot hits and then they're leaving one out over the plate and he's hitting them into the gap or out over the fence."
The Isotopes will hit the road for the next eight games, starting Tuesday at Omaha. Albuquerque will send right-hander Red Patterson (3-5, 4.26 ERA) to the mound against Storm Chasers lefty John Lamb (3-5, 3.80).
Prior to the game, to make room for Federowicz on the roster the Isotopes put catcher John Cannon (sprained right ankle) on the disabled list. ... In another move, right-handed reliever Josh Judy (inflamed elbow) was also placed on the DL. Taking his roster spot was right-hander Juan Abreu, who will be making his season debut after missing all of 2013 due to injury.