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Isotopes finish season with shutout loss to 51s

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Sporting a threadbare lineup Monday afternoon, the Albuquerque Isotopes lost the final game of the 2014 season 5-0 to the visiting Las Vegas 51s. Albuquerque lost four players to the Dodgers before the game started.

Outfielder Joc Pederson, catcher Tim Federowicz, second baseman Alex Guerrero and right-handed reliever Yimi Garcia were promoted to Los Angeles. In addition, infielder Carlos Triunfel, initially slated to start at shortstop Monday, was pulled from the lineup less than an hour before game time as he was designated for assignment to make room for Pederson on the 40-man roster.

"Yimi was thrilled," manager Damon Berryhill said of the reliever, who was going up for the first time. "And well-deserved, he pitched great for us all year. He was probably our top guy in the bullpen, ERA-wise. All year just did a great job for us. Always seemed to throw strikes."

The remaining Isotopes (62-80) could not put together any run support for right-hander Zach Lee (7-13), who closed out a rough season with one of his best starts. Lee allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out three in six innings of work.

"I thought he did well," Berryhill said. "He really pitched well, worked ahead of hitters (in the count), mostly. It's one of those games where we ended up pitching well but didn't produce anything offensively."

The game was scoreless until the fifth inning. Cesar Puello and Daniel Muno hit back-to-back singles to start the frame.

Pitcher John Lannan then laid down a sacrifice bunt but Lee's throw to third base pulled Jamie Romak off the bag, leaving the bases loaded. Matt Reynolds followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0, though Lee was able to get out of the inning without any further damage.

Lee almost made it through the sixth unscathed. Taylor Teagarden lined a two-out, solo home run to the right field corner.

Albuquerque's best scoring chances came in the second, fifth and eighth innings. In the second, an error and a single put two on with one out, but Delvis Morales and Lee both grounded out to end the frame.

Roger Bernadina tripled to right-center to lead off the fifth. He never moved, however, as Morales struck out and Lee and Trayvon Robinson both grounded out.

In the eighth, Robinson drew a one-out walk, stole second and advanced to third on Mike Baxter's groundout. Clint Robinson then drew a walk but Jamie Romak popped up to second baseman L.J. Mazzilli to end the threat.

Reliever Fabio Martinez gave up three runs in the ninth, erasing any thoughts of another comeback. The Isotopes had rallied to win the first three games of the series.

"It's kind of a tough way to end the season after the big win (Sunday) night," Berryhill said. "I'm proud of the guys. They played hard for me. We just came up short today."

From here, the attention will shift to whether or not the Dodgers will truly be leaving Albuquerque for a new affiliation in Oklahoma City this offseason. A new Major League club would then sign a player development contract with the Isotopes for 2015.

The final deadline for affiliation agreements will be Oct. 7. Until then, the rumors will swirl.

As for Las Vegas (81-63), the 51s will advance to the PCL playoffs. They will open a best-of-5 series with Reno, which won the Pacific Northern Division via a 2-1 victory over Sacramento in 10 innings on Sunday.

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