Ed Lucas’ two-out, three-run double in the 11th inning propelled the Tacoma Rainiers to a 10-7 victory over the Albuquerque Isotopes on Sunday afternoon. Tacoma (8-2) has now won back-to-back games at Isotopes Park.
Nelson Gonzalez (0-2) came on in the 11th and struck out the first batter he faced. After a single and a wild pitch, Gonzalez intentionally walked Stefen Romero and then struck out Mike Zunino.
Former Isotope Mike Baxter then drew a walk to load the bases. Lucas followed with his double to clear the bases.
Albuquerque (5-6) went down in order against Blake Parker in the bottom of the frame. It was a bitter pill to swallow after having led 7-3 through six innings.
The Isotopes will aim for a series split on Monday at 12:05 p.m. Right-hander Joe Wieland (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will start for the Rainiers, while Albuquerque’s starter has not been named.
Don’t walk this way: The Isotopes pitching staff has been especially stingy with not allowing walks this season, particularly of late. Starter Eddie Butler allowed just one walk Sunday after three Albuquerque pitchers did not walk any Rainiers on Saturday.
“Oh, why do you want to talk about that?” manager Glenallen Hill said with a laugh, wishing to avoid any chance of jinxing his team. “You know, I think it’s great when you can have your pitchers pounding the strike zone.
“It puts us in a pretty good situation, gives us an opportunity to win the game. That’s been the theme so far this year.”
Full strength: The Isotopes played the first two games of their homestand with 24 players and then only 23 on Saturday. Hill said he the team was dealing with the shortage just fine.
“You know, today I have 23, that could change tomorrow,” he said Saturday night. “I just know I have 23 and hope for more tomorrow.”
Hill got his wish Sunday with the addition of two players from Double-A Hartford. It can just take a while to get them across America sometimes, especially with the bad weather in the middle of the country.
Right-hander Matt Flemer will take the place of fellow pitcher David Hale, who was called up to the Majors when catcher Nick Hundley was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list. Flemer went 7-11 with a 3.87 ERA at Double-A last season and will likely step into Hale’s spot in the rotation.
Flemer won his only start for the Yard Goats on April 10. He allowed just one run on five hits and one walk in six innings, though he did not strike out a batter.
The Isotopes had been down to only one catcher, Ryan Casteel, for the last two games after Dustin Garneau had been called up as insurance due to Hundley’s uncertain status. Now they finally are back up to two catchers with the arrival of veteran Jackson Williams.
The Isotopes started Williams behind the plate Sunday. He went 1-for-5 with a run scored.
Just a bit outside: Former UFC and boxing champion Holly Holm threw out the first pitch for her hometown team on Saturday night. It was not a strike but then again, Holm never played any sports that involved throwing a ball when she was growing up.
“No background in softball, the only sports I played were soccer, swimming, gymnastics and diving,” Holm said before the game. “No softball, baseball, basketball or any of that.”
Holm said she was a bit nervous heading out to the mound. This is coming from someone who knocked out Ronda Rousey back in November in front of thousands of fans in Melbourne, Australia.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, I even tweaked my shoulder during training two days ago,” Holm said before the game. “It better make it there (to home plate), if not I might ask for a re-do.”
Holm got the ball to the plate, though it was just a bit outside. Infielder Tim Smalling caught it on a bounce and Holm and the fans got to celebrate.