The Albuquerque Isotopes exploded early and then held on for dear life to come away with a 7-5 victory over the visiting El Paso Chihuahuas on Monday night. El Paso fell to 0-5 in Albuquerque this season.
The Isotopes (42-50) scored six runs in the first two innings, which actually proved to be enough, though there was plenty of drama later on. Albuquerque pulled a Houdini act more than once late in the game.
In the eighth inning, reliever Juan Abreu got one out and then walked the bases loaded. Luckily for the Isotopes, Jose Dominguez came on and induced a 6-4-3 double play to bail them out of that jam.
Dominguez then ran into his own spot of self-induced trouble in the ninth. Rocky Gale and pinch hitter Tyler Greene reached on back-to-back singles to start the frame.
Dominguez was able to strike out Reymond Fuentes, get Jonathan Galvez to fly out to shallow center field and finally struck out Jace Peterson swinging to earn his seventh save. A big part of the reason he was able to settle down was in lowering his velocity ever so slightly.
"When he's on, hitters have no chance," catcher Tim Federowicz said. "That's what he has to realize that 96 to 97 is the same as 100 from a hitter's standpoint. So once he gets his effort level down, he's able to pitch (more effectively) around the zone."
Albuquerque jumped all over El Paso starter Donn Roach (2-2) in the first two innings. Trayvon Robinson led off the first with a double to right and rehabbing Dodger Carl Crawford reached on a fielding error by second baseman Chris Nelson.
After Crawford stole second base without a throw, Federowicz roped a one-out, two-run double to right field. Brock Peterson followed with an RBI single up the middle.
Delvis Morales later added an RBI single to center to make it 4-0. In the second inning, after Robinson drew a leadoff walk and stole second base, Crawford smoked an RBI triple to right-center and then scored on Romak's RBI single to left.
"It's definitely progress right there, we got the early lead for the change and we were able to hold onto it," Federowicz said. "It's one of those things, as hitters if we do our jobs then it's the pitchers' jobs to hold onto it and they did their jobs today."
Crawford finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored. He stayed in for the entire game Monday but probably won't be in as long Tuesday.
"I haven't seen anything that has been hampering him as far as the ankle," manager Damon Berryhill said. "He's been explosive. He's gotten good breaks on the ball in the outfield. I think his swing, he says it feels it good. He hasn't complained about anything. I think he's due to go six more (innings) here (Tuesday)."
The Chihuahuas (44-48) picked up one run in the fourth before grinding out four more runs in the fifth off Drew Carpenter. Gale's RBI single, Jason Lane's sacrifice fly, Fuentes' RBI triple and another sac-fly by Galvez pulled El Paso within 6-5.
Carpenter (2-0) was able to gut out six innings, allowing those five runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five. Yimi Garcia then pitched a scoreless seventh.
"I think he just got a little tired, left a couple balls up," Federowicz said of Carpenter. "But he was able to dial it back in the next inning and get through it."
Albuquerque and El Paso will continue their series Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Stephen Fife (2-2, 6.62 ERA) will start for the Isotopes against Chihuahuas right-hander Chris Smith (0-0, 3.27).
Around the Lab
Outfielder Joc Pederson (separated right shoulder) said he feels "about 90 percent" and hoped to be activated from the disabled list this week. His manager agreed. "As long as he doesn't take a step back, it will probably be Wednesday or Thursday," Berryhill said. ... The Dodgers reportedly signed free agent outfielder Roger Bernadina to a minor-league contract Monday.