It took 41 minutes and two pitchers, but the Albuquerque Isotopes finally managed to strike out former teammate Roger Bernadina.
OK, fine, there were two power outages that knocked out the light towers at Isotopes Park on a literal dark and stormy night Sunday.
"Man, that was a mentally draining, pretty tough game with the two lights out and then it looks like it’s just going to pour down rain but it just drizzled, so credit to our guys, we stuck in it and it’s almost like we did better as the delay went on," right fielder Jordan Patterson said.
Eventually the game resumed as Albuquerque went on to a 9-2 victory over the Las Vegas 51s.
"I can’t even recap that game," manager Glenallen Hill said. "That was unbelievable. The umpires did an incredible job. They were losing their patience on the last time the lights went out. … It worked out to where the lights stayed on and it stopped raining."
The count was 2-1 on Bernadina in the fifth inning with Justin Miller on the mound when all of the light towers went out amid a monsoon storm surrounding the park. Images later showed a power transfer station on the west side of Albuquerque on fire from a lightning strike.
Eventually the power came back, though after a 26-minute delay, the Isotopes opted not to risk the rehabbing Miller and sent in lefty Sam Moll instead. He managed to get the count up to 3-2 before half the light towers went out again. After another delay, Moll retook the mound and needed just one pitch to strike out Bernadina and end the inning where Las Vegas had scored twice.
"And there was a good chance we would have made history because Roger Bernadina could have faced three pitchers," Hill said. "That would have been pretty incredible."
Patterson said that it would have been easily for both teams to lose their focus with the back-to-back delays.
"You’ve kind of got to stay in it, you can’t sit too much, you gotta be up, be ready to go," he said. "As soon as you get down and sit there for a second, you get lackadaisical and check out mentally. You’ve got to stay locked in."
Way back before all the weirdness, Jeff Hoffman tossed four scoreless innings before reaching his pitch count of exactly 75. He gave up three hits, all singles, and three walks while striking out four.
The bullpen took over from there, with Moll (2-3) tossing 1.2 scoreless innings and Matt Flemer finishing with 2.2 scoreless frames.
"Flemer has been pitching very well," Hill said. "He believes in himself, he doesn’t get outside of that. He executes pitches, he’s not bigger than the situation and he’s totally emotionally invested in every pitch that comes out of his hand."
Moll’s bounce-back outing after giving up four runs in an inning Friday was good for his manager to see.
"To be quite frank, he needs to pitch that way," Hill said.
Patterson homered for the second time in his many games to put Albuquerque ahead in the third inning. The solo shot was a blast, landing above the 428-foot sign to the right of the center field hill.
Joey Wong’s RBI triple and Mike Tauchman’s RBI single made it 4-0 in the fourth. Stephen Cardullo would add a two-run single in the sixth to push the lead to 6-2. Another three runs came across in the eighth, with Tom Murphy extending his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single.
"They’ve made some adjustments and they’re swinging the bats very well," Hill said. "This time of year, all the players in there, they’re looking forward to the next opportunity. The season, it’s gone by really fast for us. Guys are making a push and they need to."
Before the game, shortstop Pat Valaika was added to the active roster, though he did not play. Valaika was one of three Hartford Yard Goats reportedly promoted Saturday night, though pitcher German Marquez and outfielder Raimel Tapia have not been added yet.
To make room for Valaika, infielder Jeff Bianchi was placed on the disabled list.