Dressed in Albuquerque Dukes mustard yellow jerseys, the Isotopes engaged in another very Dukes-like performance Saturday night. They came out on top for the second night in a row, pulling out an 8-7 victory over the Sacramento River Cats.
After some earlier defensive miscues, Carlos Triunfel stepped to the plate with two outs and nobody on in the eighth inning. He untied the game with a towering solo home run to left field.
"Offensively we've swung the bats well the last three or four days," manager Damon Berryhill said. "There was some stuff we did defensively that we need to clean up that ended up kind of hurting us a little bit. I'm pleased with the way the guys are swinging the bats. That's a nice ballgame to win. (Triunfel) came up big."
Sacramento (57-43) put two on with two outs in the ninth, but Pedro Baez got Jake Elmore to ground into a force out at second base. Baez earned his fourth save of the season.
Albuquerque (46-55) took control early, scoring one run in the first and three in the third. The River Cats struck back with three runs in the fourth, only to see Joc Pederson blast a two-run homer in the fourth off veteran lefty Tommy Milone and Brock Peterson launch a solo shot in the fifth.
"Joc's had an outstanding year all season," Berryhill said. "He's really improved this year versus left-handers. I think he's leading the league in walks. He's been a patient hitter, especially against left-handers. I think he's settled back in and has got that timing going."
The seventh inning was another story. Daric Barton hit a leadoff home run and then ended up in a verbal argument with Isotopes starter Red Patterson as Barton slowly rounded the bases.
Both benches and bullpens eventually cleared, but no punches were thrown and there were no ejections. The tiff, however, seemed to rattle Patterson and wake up the River Cats.
Patterson was lifted after giving up a walk and a single. Reliever Josh Ravin came in and gave up a single before getting a 6-3 double play, though a run scored to cut the Isotopes' lead to 7-5.
After Nick Buss drew a walk, Jake Elmore hit a slow roller to shortstop that Triunfel took too long to get to on what should have been a routine play. Alden Carrithers scored and Shane Peterson then followed with a game-tying RBI single.
"It was just a play that I thought Carlos laid back on a ball that's a routine groundball and had to force a hurried throw somewhere," Berryhill said. "That was kind of the defensive lapse I was talking about. The proper play is to come get that ball and it's an easy play. That kept that rally going for them and enabled them to tie the ballgame."
Rehabbing Dodger Chone Figgins went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a walk. He played seven innings in left field and will serve as the designated hitter Sunday, though that might not be his last game at Isotopes Park.
"The good thing about Figgy throughout his whole career he's always had a great eye at the plate, he's not going to chase high in the zone," Berryhill said. "I talked to him a little bit about his leg and he said it's getting stronger every day and he's feeling good."
Albuquerque will go for the series victory over Sacramento on Sunday at 6:05 p.m. The Isotopes will send right-hander Carlos Frias (6-4, 4.65 ERA) to the mound against River Cats right-hander Arnold Leon (9-3, 4.47).
Around the Lab
Prior to the game, Triunfel was added to the roster after he had been sent down by the Dodgers on Friday. To make room, infielder Casio Grider was optioned to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. ... Right-hander Stephen Fife, who left Thursday's start in the fourth inning, was placed on the disabled list with forearm stiffness. Right-hander Steve Smith was activated from the DL to take his roster spot.