It was one of those better-late-than-never games for the Albuquerque Isotopes on Thursday afternoon. After getting good pitching all day, the bats woke up late to deliver a 3-2 victory in 10 innings over the Salt Lake Bees.
The Isotopes (15-12) split the four-game series, which featured three contests that went to extra innings. The pitching was fairly strong throughout the series, but the hitting was sporadic.
"It's one of those things ... our pitching has turned on while our hitting has gotten a little bit south on us," manager Damon Berryhill said. "It's just one of those things about baseball that seems to happen once a year. You hope it doesn't last long."
Albuquerque had just two hits going to the ninth inning, with Joc Pederson's solo home run in the fourth providing their only run. Mike Baxter then smoked a one-out, opposite-field home run into the Isotopes bullpen to tie the game.
In the 10th, Trayvon Robinson hit a leadoff double to start the final rally and later moved to third base on a passed ball. Cory Rasmus (1-1) struck out Jamie Romak before the Bees (11-17) opted to intentionally walk Miguel Rojas and pinch hitter Chone Figgins, loading the bases.
Carlos Triunfel then hit a squib shot up the middle. Figgins' hard slide into second base was enough to disrupt Taylor Lindsey, who was able to get the force out but his throw to first was late, enabling Robinson to score the winning run from third.
"Big, big home run by Baxter," Berryhill said. "Two big hits there (late). Fortunately Triunfel didn't hit that ball harder or it might have been a double play. We had Figgy out there running hard and he got to the guy, kind of disrupted that throw."
Matt Magill pitched six solid innings before running out of steam in the seventh. Luis Jimenez blasted a solo home run to tie the game, followed by a walk to Drew Heid and then an RBI double off the bat of Luis Martinez.
"I feel great, I'm going out with the attitude of just attacking the hitters now," Magill said. "I'm not really worrying about the results. Control what I can control, instead of battling myself out there, battle the hitter."
All told, Magill allowed six hits, just the one walk and struck out three in 6.2 innings. That followed an outing at Fresno on Saturday where he pitched six scoreless frames.
"He was even sharper than his last outing," Berryhill said. "He's had two really good starts for us. Today he commanded the fastball much better. Just a lot smoother outing for him. Just looked comfortable, poised on the mound and pounding the strike zone.
"The sad thing is he made one mistake, with two outs he hung a changeup in a tied ballgame. But other than that, it was a gem."
The Albuquerque bullpen was solid. Justin Souza threw 1.1 scoreless innings and Colt Hynes pitched a scoreless ninth. Josh Judy (2-0) worked his way around a pair of infield singles in the 10th to earn the victory.
"We've gotten a little thin in the pen," Berryhill said. "We used our whole (available) pen again today."
Jarrett Grube struck out eight batters in 8.1 innings, but the two solo home runs were enough to deny him a victory. Jimenez went 3-for-4, falling a triple short of the cycle, to lead Salt Lake at the plate.
The Isotopes will open a four-game series with the Fresno Grizzlies on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Albuquerque and Fresno split a four-game series in California last weekend.