The Albuquerque Isotopes are getting good at this one-big inning per game strategy. For the third straight game, all victories, the Isotopes scored at least five runs in a single frame.
In this case it was a five-run outburst in the fourth inning that propelled Albuquerque to a 6-5 victory over the visiting Reno Aces on Thursday night. The Isotopes clinched a series win with one game to play.
“I’m not saying that’s going to happen every time but that is who we are,” manager Glenallen Hill said of the big inning and how it relates to his philosophy of putting player development first. “I think it goes hand-in-hand with the culture in the big leagues.
“I think it was last week I saw Nolan Arenado in Chicago drop down a bunt. We’re right in line with what they’ve got going on so hopefully when they (have) a need our guys will be prepared to not try to do too much, stay within themselves and play within their ability because we dont’ have power hitters.”
Albuquerque (9-6) has won four in a row and eight of its last 10. A combination of all those manufactured runs and strong starting pitching has been the key.
Ryan Carpenter (1-1) tossed six solid innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out six. It was the first walk of the season, through three starts, for the right-hander.
“He has been working on some things and he is up and to this point he has managed his (downward) angle, which allows his pitches to play in the strike zone,” Hill said. “He moves the ball around and he adjusts speeds very well.”
The Isotopes trailed the Aces (5-9) 2-1 in the fourth when Mike Tauchman and Stephen Cardullo hit back-to-back singles to start the frame. Jordan Patterson then extended his on-base streak to 15 games with a walk that loaded the bases.
Chris Nelson followed with a single through the left side to score Tauchman and tie the game. Joey Wong put Albuquerque ahead for good with a sacrifice fly, scoring Cardullo.
Jackson Williams added a two-run double and Rafael Ynoa had a sac-fly of his own to cap the scoring outburst. From there it was just a matter of holding on.
Carpenter gave up a solo home run to Tuffy Gosewisch, his second of the day, in the sixth. Jason Bourgeois had an RBI double in the seventh off Yohan Flande.
The Isotopes looked to be out of danger when pinch hitter Zach Borenstein smoked a two-out RBI single in the ninth. Simon Castro then walked Kyle Jensen before striking out Carlos Rivero to earn his first save of the season.
Albuquerque will go for the series sweep of Reno on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Eddie Butler (1-0, 4.50 ERA) will get the nod for the Isotopes against Aces right-hander Edgar Garcia (1-1, 5.56).