Down to their last strike, the Albuquerque Isotopes stunned the visiting Oklahoma City Dodgers 9-8 on Wednesday night, completing an incredible late rally from five runs down.
Albuquerque (24-22) scored four runs in the eighth to draw within a run. In the ninth, with two outs, Dustin Garneau drew a walk and Rafael Ynoa was hit by a pitch.
Daniel Castro worked the count full before hitting a dribbler that was fielded by reliever Brandon Morrow (0-5), who threw past first baseman Scott Van Slyke and into right field. Both runners, who had taken off on contact, came around to score.
“My thoughts are that’s why people come out and watch baseball, because you never know what’s going to happen,” Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill said. “The game isn’t over until the last out is recorded. That was pretty exciting.”
Castro finished just 1-for-5, but his approach at the plate in his final at-bat was indicative of his improved status of late.
“He has a 50-percent well-hit ratio over his last 16 at-bats,” Hill said. “What you’re seeing out of him is real.”
Matt Carasiti (1-0), who struck out the side in the Isotopes’ half of the ninth on just 12 pitches, picked up the win in relief.
Albuquerque’s rally had started back in the eighth. Garneau led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Castro drove him in with a single to right and Rosell Herrera then went the other way for a bloop double to left.
Collin Ferguson’s pinch-hit two-run double down the right field line brought the Isotopes within 8-6. Derrik Gibson’s flyout to right moved Ferguson to third and Mike Tauchman then singled up the middle to make it a one-run game. Tauchman, though, was then thrown out trying to steal second to cut the rally short at that point. It would not matter in the end.
The rally erased the first rough start for Barry Enright, who had thrown 11 2/3 scoreless frames to earn wins in his first two starts for the Isotopes. This time around, though, he gave up eight runs on nine hits and three walks in five innings. The bullpen picked him up with four scoreless innings.
“Our bullpen has been solid all year,” Hill said. “We are used to them putting up zeroes.”
Oklahoma City (25-19) hit three home runs, including two by O’Koyea Dickson. Former Isotope Van Slyke went 0-for-5 with two strikes and took out his frustration on a water cooler in the eighth.
Tauchman went 3-for-3 with three RBI for Albuquerque, while Garneau was 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Raimel Tapia, in his first start since being sent back down by the Colorado Rockies, reached on an infield single in the first inning to extend his Triple-A hitting streak to 17 games and his on-base streak to 26 games.
The Isotopes and Dodgers will continue their series tonight at 7:05. Albuquerque has not announced a starter to oppose former Isotope Jair Jurrjens (4-1, 3.25 ERA), now of Oklahoma City.