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Lee looks sharp but Isotopes still lose

Zach Lee allowed just one run in six innings as the Isotopes were shut out by the Express.
Zach Lee allowed just one run in six innings as the Isotopes were shut out by the Express.
Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Zach Lee did his part. The rest of the Isotopes did not.

Albuquerque lost 2-0 to visiting Round Rock on Monday night despite a great outing from Lee. The right-hander gave up just one run in six innings of work, but ended up dropping to 5-6 on the season.

That was because the Isotopes' bats went almost completely silent. They scratched together just four hits on the night while striking out 13 times.

"Offensively we just couldn't get anything going tonight," manager Damon Berryhill said. "They pitched a decent ballgame at us, but I think offensively we just came out flat. A lot of big swings, a lot of swings and misses. We didn't put the ball in play too much. It was one of those unfortunate games where we wasted a good start."

Lee's only mistake came in the second inning as Brent Lillibridge greeted him with a leadoff home run to center field. The call the shot a bit wind-aided might not be generous enough.

In the sixth, Lee walked Kensuke Tanaka and gave up a single to Ryan Strausborger to put runners at the corners with no outs. Lee then got Bryan Petersen to ground out on a heads-up play by catcher Johnny Monell, who pounced on a squibber before it could go foul, and then struck out Brad Snyder and got Lillibridge to ground out to third base.

"Zach went out and pitched a great ballgame for us," Berryhill said. "Just gave up that one solo job and got us out of a jam (in the sixth)."

For all the good Lee did in allowing just three total hits and two walks while striking out seven, his teammates simply could not back him up. Albuquerque (30-34) had its chances but squandered one after another.

Clint Robinson was hit by a pitch to lead off the second inning and Alex Liddi singled to put runners at the corners. Mike Baxter then struck out swinging and Johnny Monell grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

In the fifth, Monell hit a leadoff single and Trayvon Robinson doubled with two outs. Erisbel Arruebarrena, in his first start at Isotopes Park, then struck out for the third time.

Arruebarrena has gone 0-for-9 in two games with the Isotopes. He had not played much recently with the Dodgers before his demotion.

"Sometimes it's tough if you get up to the big leagues, play a couple games and then maybe sit for seven without seeing live pitching," "Sometimes it just takes a little bit of time to get that timing back, that rhythm back. We're going to run him out there (Tuesday) and hopefully the more at-bats he gets the timing gets back in there.

"He's going to get plenty of opportunities, plenty of ABs here. He'll get together with (hitting coach Franklin Stubbs) and break down that swing a little bit and start working."

Express starter Phil Irwin had a 10.38 ERA in two games with Round Rock (28-36) entering this contest and a 9.00 ERA overall on the season. He tossed five shutout innings, striking out eight batters.

Lefty reliever Michael Kirkman, who entered with a 9.47 ERA, retired all six Isotopes he faced on a total of just 19 pitches. Nate Adcock gave up a leadoff walk to Jeremy Hazelbaker in the eighth, but then got Trayvon Robinson to ground into a 6-3 double play, followed by an Arruebarrena groundout.

Southpaw Aaron Poreda struck out the side in the ninth inning, with Pederson, Clint Robinson and Liddi all going down swinging. It was Poreda's first save of the season.

"I understand we're left-handed (hitter) strong in the lineup, but we've got to put better at-bats against left-handers together," Berryhill said. "(At-bats) that compete a little bit more against left-handed pitching."

Albuquerque will try to come back to life against Round Rock on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Sam Demel (1-1, 6.39 ERA) will start for the Isotopes against Express right-hander Miles Mikolas (3-0, 2.78).

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