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Isotopes earn rare series win with victory over Bees

Miguel Rojas went 2-for-4 with a home run as the Isotopes beat the Bees.
Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Miguel Rojas went 2-for-4 with a home run as the Albuquerque Isotopes held on for a 5-3 victory over the visiting Salt Lake Bees. Albuquerque (27-31) took three of four from Salt Lake (21-39) to win a series for the first time since sweeping El Paso April 15-18.

"It's a long time in between," "It was a good series. I thought we pitched well this series. Offensively I thought we were finally able to break through with some of those hits we've been looking for. It's just a good feeling to get that series win."

The Isotopes had split six series and lost three others since winning those four games against the Chihuahuas in April. They have one four-game losing streak in that span but never more than a two-game winning streak.

"It's a great feeling for us," Rojas said. "Like I said (Monday), we've been doing the same thing over and over. We're trying to do something different now, trying to play the game the right now. We haven't been the team we are (capable of being). These last couple games we're playing the game the right way."

Rojas has gone 13-for-30 over his last seven games, including all five of his home runs on the season. He has raised his batting average from .271 to .302.

"That's what I've been trying to do, get on base however I can," Rojas said. "I'm trying to be aggressive. I'm trying to be this kind of hitter you see right now. Before I was taking too many strikes, taking too many fastballs right down the middle. Now I'm going to be aggressive but under control. Now that's paying off for me."

Rojas ignited both scoring outbursts for Albuquerque. He singled with one out in the first inning and then scored on Joc Pederson's RBI triple to left-center. Pederson then scored on Clint Robinson's double to left.

"He's really been working hard and really starting to apply what (hitting coach Franklin Stubbs) and he have been working on," Berryhill said of Rojas. "It's starting to pay off. He's doing an outstanding defensive job as well."

In the sixth inning, with the game tied 2-2, Rojas hit a leadoff home run into the Salt Lake bullpen in left-center. Two batters later, Robinson and Alex Liddi drew back-to-back walks to set up Mike Baxter's two-run triple.

Those two scoring bursts were more than enough to support starter Zach Lee (5-5). The right-hander went six-plus innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while not walking a batter and striking out four.

"It was a solid start," Berryhill said. "He worked down in the zone, had pretty good command of his fastball."

If there was one minor down note for the Isotopes it came when Pederson was removed from the game after the sixth inning. It was not related to injury or his recent bout of illness.

"That was just for a lack of effort running down the first base line," Berryhill said of a groundout to second base in the sixth. "It's just one of those things where it's not acceptable. If you don't give me the effort you can come sit next to me on the bench. It's one of those learning things that he's going to have to go through."

Pedro Baez, Paco Rodriguez and Jose Dominguez then combined for four scoreless innings of relief for Albuquerque. Dominguez earned his fourth save by retiring the final four batters on two groundouts and two flyouts.

"He's been pretty solid with his command," Berryhill said of Dominguez. "That's an inning-plus save, which is good to see."

The Isotopes will take Wednesday off before traveling to Tacoma to open a five-games-in-four-days series with the Rainiers on Thursday. Albuquerque will play host to Round Rock on Monday.

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