The positive spin Thursday night was that Joc Pederson moved ever closer to being the first player with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a Pacific Coast League season since 1934. The negative spin was pretty much everything else for the Albuquerque Isotopes.
Visiting Memphis blasted Albuquerque 17-7, ruining the Isotopes Park debut of pitching prospect Chris Reed. The preseason No. 8 prospect gave up six runs on seven hits and one walk in two-plus innings.
"Tough start for Reed. It's something he's just going to have to put behind him," manager Damon Berryhill said. "I thought he was a little timid today, didn't show his good stuff. He tried to pitch away from contact I think. He'll get the ball back in five days and get another shot at it."
Pederson walked with one out in the first inning and went to second on Tim Federowicz's single. Pederson then stole third base, his 27th steal of the season.
In the second inning, Pederson came up with two on and two outs. Tyler Lyons (8-1) served a pitch up in the zone and Pederson hammered it to the grass berm above right field for a three-run homer, his 29th of the season.
All of this has come after Pederson had one stretch where he was in a 2-for-28 slump. He now has 10 hits in his last 32 at-bats, including five home runs.
"I think he hit that little funk, was getting real frustrated, trying to do too much, trying to get out of it," Berryhill said. "He finally settled down, got back to work. He started working on his swing again and gradually the timing has come back and he's started putting (good) swings on the ball and not chasing pitches out of the zone."
Pederson still has another five games in the homestand to reach 30-30, plus another eight on the road and four more at home to wrap up the season. No PCL player has reached the mark since Frank Demaree had 45 homers and 41 steals for the Los Angeles Angels 80 years ago, albeit in 186 games.
No Isotope had even reached 20-20 in the past, while only four Albuquerque Dukes ever got even that far. The closest any Duke came to 30-30 was current Isotopes hitting coach Franklin Stubbs, who had 32 homers and 23 steals in 1985.
"It's hard, so if he gets it, spectacular would be the word," Stubbs said. "Because it's not easy to do. It's very special if he gets the chance to do that."
Pederson's home run had actually given the Isotopes (56-70) a 5-3 lead after two innings. The Redbirds (68-58) made short work of that in the third, scoring seven runs.
After Albuquerque got a run back in the bottom of the frame, the Redbirds tacked on two runs in the fourth and five in the fifth. Reliever Drew Carpenter was charged with 11 of those runs, 10 earned, on 10 hits and two walks in 2.2 innings.
"Carpy went out and battled (but) he didn't have his good stuff," Berryhill said. "That's a tough situation for him. Just realizing how thin we are (in the bullpen) right now, he had to go out there and eat it. ... It sucks for him (but) it's a part of the game, he understands that. We appreciated that effort from him."
Left fielder Brock Peterson, who went 3-for-5 with two RBI, also took the mound for the second time this season. In the ninth inning, Peterson struck out Scruggs and got two flyball outs.
The Isotopes will try to avoid being swept Friday at 7:05 p.m. Albuquerque will send right-hander Matt Magill (7-5, 4.89 ERA) to the mound against Memphis right-hander Carlos Martinez (1-0, 0.00).
Around the Lab
Infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena (inflamed right shoulder) was placed on the disabled list prior to the game. … Outfielder Roger Bernadina was activated from the DL to take his place.