Johnny Monell made the most of his first game in Albuquerque. The newest Isotope tripled and scored the go-ahead run as his team fought back for a 6-5 victory over the Salt Lake Bees on Saturday night.
Normally a catcher, Monell served as the designated hitter and went 2-for-3 with a walk. He was acquired in a trade this week with the Baltimore Orioles.
"Over in Sacramento in his first game out he smoked a double off the right-center field wall," Isotopes manager Damon Berryhill said. "Tonight he came up with a (single) and a triple. He just brings some good, positive energy. He's kind of a little bit of a boost that we've been looking for."
Monell tripled down the right field line with one out in the sixth inning of a 5-5 game. Carlos Triunfel then singled through the right side off Justin Thomas (2-6) to give Albuquerque (25-30) its first lead of the game.
"I knew the at-bat before when I walked he threw a pitch up in the zone which I should have hit pretty well," Monell said. "I went with the approach at the plate that if he threw anything up in the zone I was pretty much going to take a tomahawk swing on it and just see where it goes. Luckily it just burned the first baseman and ran around in the corner."
Monell would later give the Isotopes an insurance run in the eighth as he singled to left field, scoring Griff Erickson. His fellow catcher had doubled to right-center with two outs.
"We added on in the eighth and secured our victory today," Monell said. "I'm sure everything will come together (for this team) soon."
Albuquerque had fallen into an early 4-0 hole on RBI singles by Taylor Lindsey and Anderson de la Rosa in the second inning and Zach Borenstein's two-run single in the third. The Isotopes picked up three runs in their half of the third, even though two of their three singles never left the infield.
Salt Lake (20-37) extended its lead to 5-3 in the fourth on J.B. Shuck's RBI single, only to see Albuquerque get a run back in the bottom of the frame as Triunfel drew a walk with the bases loaded. Clint Robinson tied the game in the fifth with a leadoff home run to left field to complete the rally.
"If you look back at the Sacramento series, we swung the bats well," Berryhill said. "They ended up getting us late in three of them, but we could have very easily won those. We're starting to swing the bats well."
Carlos Frias (3-3) picked up the win despite allowing five runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings. Matt Magill, Colt Hynes and Pedro Baez then combined for three shutout innings of relief, with Baez earning his first save as an Isotope by getting Roberto Lopez to fly out to right field with a runner on third in the ninth.
"The pitching has been better," Berryhill said. "(Pedro) has been a big plus for us. The Dodgers expect some big things out of him."
The Isotopes and Bees will meet again Sunday at 6:05 p.m. Albuquerque will send right-hander Red Patterson (2-4, 4.81 ERA) to the mound against Salt Lake lefty Dustin Richardson (1-2, 8.80).
Around the Lab
Center fielder Joc Pederson did not play Saturday, nor appear in the dugout, setting off speculation about a possible call-up to the Dodgers. However, it was a virus that kept the prospect home for the day. "He's got the flu," Berryhill said. "Right now he's home resting. He's got a slight fever, just trying to get over that." ... Rehabbing Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton went 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored. He stayed in the game despite seemingly injuring himself when he grounded into a 5-4-3 double play in the eighth inning, but did not leave the batter's box and came up limping on his way back to the dugout. Hamilton recovered in time to take his position in left field.