Among baseball fans online, a new term has emerged to describe what it is like for a team to win on a walkoff walk — shrimp. This happens when a player draws a walk with the bases loaded to force in the game-winning run.
Well, the Albuquerque Isotopes decided they would like a little shrimp in the 10th inning Friday night. Alex Liddi gave them just that, drawing a walk on a full count with the bases loaded and two outs to give Albuquerque a 7-6 victory over visiting Las Vegas.
"That's a big win, we needed that," manager Damon Berryhill said. "Offensively we swung the bats well."
The Isotopes (40-48) trailed 6-5 after Wilmer Flores blasted a solo home run to left-center in the 51s' half of the 10th. With one out, Jamie Romak and pinch hitter Griff Erickson hit back-to-back singles.
Johnny Monell lined out to center field, but Las Vegas (51-37) opted to bring in veteran reliever Buddy Carlyle to get the final out. The right-hander walked Walter Ibarra to load the bases.
Carlos Triunfel, who was 0-for-4, then hit a chopper to Brandon Allen. The first baseman, though, had the ball deflect off his glove and everyone was safe with Romak scoring the tying run.
Liddi then coaxed the walk, driving in Erickson with the winning run. The Isotopes mobbed Liddi while a record crowd of 16,348 fans celebrated.
"Alex has been swinging the bat much better probably the last five days as far as approach at the plate, seeing the ball much better," Berryhill said. "He didn't really chase anything out of the zone that whole at-bat. ... Credit goes to him. He battled and got that walk."
Albuquerque starter Jeff Bennett was solid early, making just one mistake in 6.2 innings of work. He gave up a three-run homer to Flores in the fourth inning.
Trayvon Robinson got the Isotopes started with a leadoff home run in the fourth. Romak, who went 3-for-5, would later add an RBI single in the frame.
Romak has gone 9-for-25 with seven RBI in six games since being sent back down by the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his first 15 big-league games, Romak was 1-for-21 with three RBI.
"I think it's a work in progress," Romak said. "The last at-bat was encouraging because I've only really squared up a couple fastballs since I've been back. And for me, as a fastball hitter, that's a good indication of how I'm feeling."
Albuquerque would take the lead in the seventh. Mike Baxter's sacrifice fly tied the game and Romak's two-run double down the left field line made it 5-3.
That lead held only until the ninth. Juan Centeno reached on a fielder's choice and pinch hitter Daniel Muno followed with a two-run homer to right field off Jose Dominguez, forcing extra innings.
"Pitching-wise we made really three mistakes in the ballgame that ended up getting that game tied," Berryhill said. "But this is a good win. Guys kept battling."
The record crowd did give the Isotopes an extra boost. It broke the previous record of 16,229 set July 4, 2013.
"It's awesome, this place is always a great place to play," Romak said. "Monday through Wednesday in most minor-league cities, you don't get many people. But here we get good fans, they know baseball, they're into it.
"Tonight was awesome. That's what baseball is all about, fun, big crowd and getting a win in front of the home fans."
Albuquerque and Las Vegas will play a split doubleheader Saturday at 12:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. Both games will be seven innings long and require separate tickets, though parking will be free for the matinee.
Around the Lab
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford is scheduled to join the Isotopes for a rehabilitation assignment in game two of the doubleheader. Crawford has been on the DL with a sprained ankle. ... Outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker was optioned to Double-A Chattanooga before the game to make room for Triunfel, who had been sent down by the Dodgers on Thursday.