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Guerrero shines but bullpen falters again for Isotopes

Alex Guerrero went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in his debut for the Isotopes.
Alex Guerrero went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in his debut for the Isotopes.
Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Alex Guerrero went out and had a stellar Triple-A debut. The Albuquerque Isotopes' bullpen, on the other hand, had another game to forget.

Relievers Colt Hynes and Josh Judy combined to allow seven runs as the Albuquerque Isotopes lost 8-3 to the visiting Tacoma Rainiers on Sunday afternoon. Three relievers had allowed five runs in a 9-7 loss on Saturday night.

"A couple tough days in a row for the pen," manager Damon Berryhill said. "We just got to do a better job of ... we're getting ahead (in the count), and when it comes time to make that pitch, it's elevated over the heart of the plate and they're making us pay for it."

Guerrero provided most of the highlights for Albuquerque (5-5). Starting at second base and batting seventh, he went 3-for-4 including a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Guerrero fell a triple short of the cycle, though he was not concerned about that.

"That wasn't what I was thinking during the game; I just went to the plate looking to make contact," Guerrero said through his translator David Longley.

Defensively Guerrero, who is converting from shortstop, made a nice play to his right to throw out the first batter of the game, James Jones. Guerrero made the routine plays throughout the game.

"Alex can swing the bat and he can defend, he just needs to get game reps at second base," Berryhill said. "He needs to get used to being over on that side. Today was a nice day for him after being out for quite a bit with the oblique strain. Defensively he was fine, made all the plays."

Guerrero flew out to left in the second inning, but he found his swing in the fourth, slamming a double to the warning track in right field that bounced onto the grass berm. His sixth inning home run was a towering shot to left field that cut through the wind blowing out to right.

"It was a fastball inside and I was looking for it with men on first and second," Guerrero said. "I knew that he was probably trying to get me to roll over and come in there, but he left it up."

Guerrero finished his day with a single to left in the eighth, but just like his double in the fourth, he was left stranded on base. All told, the Isotopes were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.

"So far at home we've got to do a better job of taking advantage of our opportunities," Berryhill said. "We've left a lot of people in scoring position. We've left a lot of people on base.

"It's only been three days, but it's something where you want to get out of that pattern of sitting around, waiting for three-run home runs."

Red Patterson had a solid start for Albuquerque, allowing just one run in six innings. He gave up seven hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four.

"Red gave us a quality start," Berryhill said. "Early on in the first he was elevated a little bit. Then (he) settled down, started making better pitches. That's exactly what we needed out of him."

The bullpen, though, could not hold up. Hynes came on in the seventh inning and gave up a leadoff triple to Xavier Avery, who then scored on Jesus Sucre's groundball to second base.

Endy Chavez followed with a single and two batters later Chris Taylor singled to center. Nick Franklin drove in both runners with a ringing double to right field to make it 4-3 in favor of Tacoma (4-5).

In the ninth, Judy gave up an RBI triple to Taylor, who was 4-for-5 on the day. After Taylor scored on a wild pitch, Franklin walked and Jesus Montero hit a line-drive two-run homer into the Isotopes bullpen in left field.

"The last couple days we haven't spotted up our two-strike pitches very well," Berryhill said.

The Isotopes will look to salvage a series split Monday at 6:35 p.m.

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