Albuquerque Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill said the solution to stopping his team’s six-game losing streak was a simple one.
“Show up tomorrow and throw the first punch,” Hill said Wednesday night.
The Isotopes did just that Thursday, scoring five runs in the first inning and rolling to an 8-3 victory over the visiting Reno Aces.
“It’s weird how that works out, isn’t it?” Hill said with a smile. “You’ve got to be happy about the way we swung the bats early. We put a five-spot on them. It was much-needed.”
Just as importantly for the parent Colorado Rockies, right-hander German Marquez put in a solid outing before being lifted at 75 pitches with two outs in the fifth inning.
“Then you have a guy throwing the ball who was throwing the ball probably as well as he’s thrown it in a while,” “That was a really good combination for us.
Marquez struck out nine and did not walk a batter in 4 2/3 innings.
“Tonight was pretty amazing,” Marquez said. “I’ve been working on my fastball location. I finished all of my pitches.”
The only runs Marquez allowed came on a two-run homer by the Aces’ Jack Reinheimer.
“I thought that Marquez pitched very well,” Hill said. “The home that he gave up was you just gotta see it was real good hitting. The pitch was up and in on a 2-2 count and the hitter pulled his hands in and he got to it. Other than that, a very good performance, a very strong performance. And he was able to get his pitch count up to 75 pitches and he was not laboring at all.”
Getting that pitch count up was important to Marquez.
“It’s very important to me because I’m going day by day, if they want more, I know I’ll be able to get it for them,” he said.
Marquez said he is not focused on the possibility of filling the Rockies’ open rotation slot Tuesday at Washington, just on doing his work day by day with the Isotopes (7-8).
All told, none of the Albuquerque pitchers walked a batter. Marquez, Ryan Carpenter (1-1) and Austin House combined for 14 strikeouts.
“Marquez, his tempo is great, he’s feeling it,” first baseman Jordan Patterson said. “House has been outstanding, keeping hitters off balance. It’s really nice to see.”
House continued his strong start to the season. The Albuquerque native has now thrown 8 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out seven batters across his six appearances.
“I like seeing players put themselves in position to do what they need to do to put themselves in a position to get noticed,” Hill said. “That’s always a good thing. I hope that he continues to go about his business.”
The Isotopes’ bats provided all the support their pitchers would need in the first. Raimel Tapia drew a leadoff walk on four pitches, Rosell Herrera doubled and Noel Cuevas brought home Tapia with a groundout to shortstop.
Patterson followed with an RBI triple down the left field line. Derrik Gibson then belted a two-run homer to left and Daniel Castro added a solo shot two batters later.
“When the guys are swinging like that (it’s easier),” Patterson said. “We had some good approaches. We put some good swings on it. It was nice to put that five-spot up in the first.”
Patterson was hitting just .143 (6-for-42) entering the game. He finished 2-for-4, hitting his second triple in the third inning and later hammering a ball to center that was caught for an out.
“I started off slow, obviously, so I’ve been working on some things,” Patterson said. “I kind of take what they gave me. He gave me a few good pitches to hit, I was able to stay on them and put good swings on them.”
Hill said he saw Patterson’s mini-breakout coming in advance.
“He’s been putting in work, so the last couple days he’s been putting in work in the cage, talking out loud,” Hill said. “If you get a hitter to talk enough then they realize how they’ve gotten away from what makes them successful. When they verbalize it, they can kind of get back to it. He’s done a lot of that and also put in the physical work.”
The Isotopes and Aces (8-7) will continue their series Friday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Jeff Hoffman (0-1, 4.80 ERA) will face Reno righty Keyvius Sampson (0-1, 15.19).