Amid a howling wind that canceled fireworks night, the Albuquerque Isotopes bumbled and stumbled their way to another defeat.
The visiting Tacoma Rainiers parlayed a big first inning into a 5-3 victory Saturday night.
Tacoma (10-6) scored four runs in the first inning off Matt Flemer (1-2), who was uncharacteristically wild.
“He didn’t feel like he had his normal command,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “I think what started the ball rolling for him was the first batter was a 3-2 pitch that was kind of close. Then it seemed to get worse from there.”
Flemer’s first inning went walk, walk, RBI single, walk, two-run single, RBI single, all before a 4-6-3 double play and a flyout to right field got him out of the mess. Flemer lasted just 4 2 /3 innings, throwing 92 pitches in that span. He was charged with one more run on Tuffy Gosewisch’s sacrifice fly in the fifth.
“That was not characteristic of how he normally pitches, because he (usually) commands the ball and attacks the strike zone,” Hill said.
The Isotopes (7-10) lost for the eighth time in their last nine games, once again unable to muster much in the way of offense. They scored twice in the third on Noel Cuevas’ RBI groundout and Mike Tauchman’s RBI single.
Raimel Tapia added a one-out RBI single in the ninth but by then it was too little, too late.
“We definitely had our chances of putting together a big inning but couldn’t come up with a big hit with runners in scoring position,” Hill said, noting the two times Albuquerque had the bases loaded and didn’t score. “We had the right guys up in those spots, too.”
Former Isotope Christian Bergman (3-0) made some adjustments with his new team and those paid off.
“The difference between Christian this year and past years is he’s throwing his changeup more and early and then he’s mixing in a cut fastball,” Hill said. “He has a reputation for pounding the strike zone and the ball being kind of flat. It helps him out to have good arm-speed pitches that are at the bottom of the zone.”
Albuquerque also made two errors in the sixth, though reliever Johendi Jiminian was able to wiggle out of the jam. The Isotopes were also charged with two balks and saw a number of balls drop in due to the wind.
Rehabbing Rockies reliever Chad Qualls tossed a scoreless seventh inning.
The Isotopes will try to rebound Sunday at 1:35 p.m. Right-hander Zach Jemiola (1-1, 9.53 ERA) will start against Rainiers right-hander Sam Gaviglio (0-2, 3.38).