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Albuquerque Isotopes squander Flemer’s solid start, lose 5-2 to Salt Lake Bees

Pitcher’s six solid innings for naught as bats go silent

Matt Flemer allowed just one run in six innings in the Isotopes’ loss to Salt Lake.
Tim March for MOJI

Matt Flemer did his part for the Albuquerque Isotopes on Friday night. The rest of the team, well, not so much.

Albuquerque mustered just three hits in a 5-2 loss to the visiting Salt Lake Bees. Flemer went six innings, allowing just one run on six hits and one walk while recording one strikeout. He left with his team clinging to a 2-1 lead.

“A great performance by Matt Flemer, just reflective of who he is and his ability to execute pitches in the strike zone,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “And he was able to get rewarded for that. That’s what our pitching gurus have recommended and he focused on that. He was a great illustration of that in this ballgame.”

Flemer had to pull a Houdini twice in the game. In the fourth, he gave up a leadoff double to Kaleb Cowart and then an RBI single to Dustin Ackley. Flemer induced a 4-3 double play and finished the inning getting Nolan Fontana to fly out to center fielder Raimel Tapia.

In the fifth, Ramon Flores and Rey Navarro hit back-to-back singles to lead off. After a sacrifice bunt moved both into scoring position, Flemer got Sherman Johnson to hit one right to third baseman Derrik Gibson, who easily threw out Flores at home plate. A flyout to right field ended the inning with no damage.

“He’s just very consistent, in control of the things that he can control,” Hill said. “He doesn’t let the game or what happens behind him affect what he’s doing. And it’s good, because when you have a guy who doesn’t throw over 90, those guys sometimes get overlooked.”

Flemer, though, could not help the Isotopes’ slumbering bats. Their only early hits came in the third inning on a leadoff single by Raimel Tapia and, four batters later, on a two-run single by Noel Cuevas.

From there, the entire lineup drew just three walks and struck out six times before a two-out infield single from Derrik Gibson in the ninth. Tapia then reached on an error to load the bases before Pat Valaika grounded out to second to end the game.

“The bats were quiet and they’ve got some pretty good arms in that bullpen,” Hill said of the Bees. “I think that the starter (Manny Banuelos), he pitched effectively.”

The Isotopes will try to bounce back Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Zach Jemiola will make his Triple-A debut for Albuquerque against Salt Lake right-hander Daniel Wright.

Saturday will also feature a pregame ceremony inducting pitching brothers Pedro, Ramon and Jesus Martinez into the Albuquerque Baseball Hall of Fame. All three pitched for the Dukes in the 1980s and 90s.