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Redbirds fly past Isotopes despite Pederson home run

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The good longball giveth, the bad longball taketh away. Such was the lesson learned by the Albuquerque Isotopes in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Memphis Redbirds on Tuesday.

Joc Pederson tied the game with a towering solo shot to left-center in the eighth inning, giving him 27 homers on the season. Xavier Scruggs then untied the game with a towering two-run shot in the ninth.

"I think the difference in that ballgame is they hit two two-run homers and we hit two solos," manager Damon Berryhill said. "Joc came up in the eighth and (had a) really nice swing, drove the ball the other way to tie that ballgame up."

Scott Elbert (0-2) took the loss in relief for Albuquerque (56-68). He hit Scott Moore with a pitch to start the ninth, got Stephen Piscotty out on a sacrifice bunt and then served up the blast to Scruggs.

"It was just unfortunate that Scotty goes out and hangs a breaking ball that the guy (Moore) could stick his elbow guard into and then a sac bunt and he made the mistake to the right-hander," Berryhill said. "Overall just a pretty well played game, we just came up a little short."

Eric Fornataro (4-4) got the win for Memphis (66-58). He came on after Dean Kiekhefer gave up the solo homer to Pederson.

Mike Baxter led off the first inning with a home run for Albuquerque. Pederson then singled and later scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

The lead would not hold as Scott Moore's RBI single cut it in half in the fourth. In the sixth, Randal Grichuk singled with one out and two batters later Piscotty crushed a two-run homer over the 428-foot sign in center field.

Both teams squandered solid efforts by their starting pitchers. Redbirds lefty Tim Cooney, who entered the game with a Pacific Coast League-leading 11 wins, went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out four batters.

"Offensively we jumped out early and then we just kind of backed off against the lefty," Berryhill said. "He did a decent job on us but we got a little bit over-aggressive with him and chased some pitches that we shouldn't have been chasing on him."

Jeff Bennett gave up just three runs on six hits in seven innings for the Isotopes. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.

"He pitched outstanding, it might have been his best start of the year," Berryhill said. "He really only made one mistake. He tried to go in (on Piscotty) and ball kind of cut back over the plate and he hit that two-run homer."

The Isotopes and Redbirds will meet again Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. Albuquerque will send right-hander Barry Enright (0-2, 8.04 ERA) to the mound against Memphis lefty Marco Gonzales (2-1, 3.45).

Around the Lab

Right-hander Pedro Baez rejoined the Isotopes on Tuesday, but he won't pitch for a while. The reliever must still serve his four-game suspension from the brawl in Reno on July 26. He will be out until Saturday. ... To make room for Baez on the roster — he still takes up an active spot despite the suspension — fellow reliever Josh Ravin was placed on the disabled list with a strained groin. ... Piscotty's uncle Mark helped lead Albuquerque's Sandia High School boys basketball team to the 1985 state championship. His father Mike graduated from Sandia in 1980 and also played on the basketball team. Piscotty's parents met while both attended the University of New Mexico.

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