The Albuquerque Isotopes and Fresno Grizzlies engaged in a good old-fashioned Pacific Coast League slugfest Thursday night.
Ryan McMahon belted two home runs for the home team and Teoscar Hernandez swatted a pair for the visitors, four of the eight total in a game that saw a combined 23 runs score.
So of course it all came down to a bases-loaded walk in the 10th inning to give the Isotopes an improbable 12-11 victory.
“It just feels good to get a win after kind of a marathon like that with the balls flying,” McMahon said. “Our pitchers and theirs were making good pitches, it was just one of those days.”
The 10th began with Derrik Gibson drawing a leadoff walk on a full count. Cristhian Adames then attempted a sacrifice bunt, only to have it pop up in the air. Pitcher Jordan Jankowski charged and dove for it, forcing first baseman A.J. Reed to hold off to avoid a collision. The problem was that Jankowski missed the catch as the ball fell in safely for a base hit.
Anthony Bemboom then came up and also tried to bunt. He finally put one down and it basically died in front of home plate. Catcher Max Stassi picked it up and fired to third baseman Colin Moran, but he was playing off the bag and Gibson won the foot race.
The Grizzlies argued the call to no avail. Rafael Ynoa then stepped up as Jankowski lost the strike zone. Ynoa walked on a 3-1 pitch to force in the winning run.
“We haven’t played too many games like this one,” said Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill, back from a two-game suspension. “They have. They just came from El Paso where the scores were like this. I’m just glad that we came out with the win.”
Albuquerque (33-33) fell behind early under a home run barrage by Fresno (32-35). Reid Brignac hit two home runs in the third and sixth, Hernandez hit the first of his two in the fifth and Jon Kemmer and Tyler White went back-to-back in the sixth to build a 10-4 lead.
Did the Isotopes panic or give in?
“I don’t know if anybody said it out loud but we had so much game left I think we just kind of knew, especially after that team meeting (Wednesday), we about just having that fight, going out there and playing to win the game,” McMahon said. “We all kind of knew and nobody had to say it, which was good. We’re starting to show some resiliency.”
Albuquerque scored four runs in the sixth, including two bases-loaded walks in that inning as well. In the seventh, McMahon crushed his second homer of the night to basically the same spot in dead center field. This one was a two-run shot that tied it up.
That marks three home runs in the last two games for McMahon, a left-handed hitter who is starting to spray the ball up the middle and to the opposite field.
“When I’m going good, it’s usually gap to gap,” McMahon said. “I’m in a good spot with my approach. I’m just trying to get a good hit and help the team.”
His manager certainly appreciated that.
“We had a meeting with him today, go over his player plan,” Hill said. “We talked about the importance of him continuing to grow as a player, stay excited about playing. He’s been able to do that.”
Hernandez led off the ninth with a home run to center. Austin House shook it off and retired the next three batters, the last two by strikeout to keep it a one-run game.
Ynoa beat out an infield single to start the bottom of the frame. Two batters later, McMahon singled up the middle to put runners at the corners. Mike Tauchman followed with an RBI single to left to tie it up at 10-10.
McMahon, Tauchman and Rosell Herrera each finished the game with four hits. The top three hitters in the lineup accounted for 12 of the Isotopes’ 18 hits.
Albuquerque will go for the series win Friday night at 7:05 as the Green Chile Cheeseburgers, while Fresno will play as its alter ego, the Tacos. Right-hander Matt Flemer (2-5, 7.34 ERA) will start against Grizzlies right-hander Trent Thornton (3-2, 4.04).