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Isotopes sweep Grizzlies via back-to-back shutouts

Stephen Fife threw six shutout innings as the Isotopes swept a doubleheader in Fresno.
Stephen Fife threw six shutout innings as the Isotopes swept a doubleheader in Fresno.Courtesy of the Albuquerque Isotopes, used with permission

Matt Magill was almost untouchable in the opener of a doubleheader. Stephen Fife was equally good in the nightcap.

With their starting pitching leading the way, the Albuquerque Isotopes rolled to 1-0 and 2-0 victories over the host Fresno Grizzlies on Saturday night. Albuquerque (13-9) clinched no worse than a split of the four-game series with Fresno (7-16).

Fife (1-2), who had struggled badly in three prior starts, turned in his best outing of the season in the second game. The right-hander allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out two batters in six shutout innings.

Sam Demel then came on and earned his fifth save, striking out two of the three batters he faced in a perfect ninth inning. Demel got Tyler Colvin to pop up to second baseman Alex Guerrero to end the game.

There was a lot of speculation about Guerrero's status after the Dodgers pulled shortstop Hanley Ramirez with an apparent injury in the third inning Saturday. Guerrero, the only Isotopes infielder on the 40-man roster, played all seven innings of the second game.

Albuquerque finally broke through against Fresno starter Edwin Escobar (0-2) in the fifth inning. The Isotopes loaded the bases on a walk, ground-rule double and hit batter. Trayvon Robinson then reached on an error by third baseman Adam Duvall, enabling Chone Figgins to score.

In the sixth inning, Nick Buss led off with a double to center. Three batters later, Miguel Rojas walked on a wild-pitch ball four, while Buss scored the insurance run.

Magill (2-1) was sharp in the opener, also tossing six shutout innings. The right-hander allowed just two hits, walked three and had three strikeouts.

Clint Robinson's RBI groundout in the third inning gave Albuquerque the only run it would need. Paco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless seventh inning to earn his first career save at Triple-A.

The Isotopes will look to clinch the series Sunday at 2:05 p.m. They will then return to Albuquerque to open a 12-game homestand, beginning Monday at 6:35 p.m. against the Salt Lake Bees.