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Albuquerque Isotopes drop close one as bullpen and bats falter

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Matt Carasiti blows his first save of season while lineup goes quiet

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies - Game Two
After successfully converting his first 11 save opportunities of 2017, Isotopes reliever Matt Carasiti faltered against the River Cats.
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Close losses tend to haunt teams far more than the blowouts.

One night after losing 13-1, the Albuquerque Isotopes suffered a 5-4 loss in 10 innings at the hands of the visiting Sacramento River Cats (Giants) on Sunday.

“You want to win those games,” Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill said. “A close game, again, we fought back, they fought back. … They put together three pretty good games.”

The game featured plenty of miscues and missed opportunities.

Albuquerque (28-28) had taken a 4-3 lead in the eighth on a two-out RBI double by Noel Cuevas and then an RBI single by Derrik Gibson.

Matt Carasiti, who had been a perfect 11-for-11 in save opportunities this season, then came on to finish it. Juan Ciriaco greeted him with a leadoff single past third baseman Gibson into left field.

Carasiti got the next two outs, only to see Carlos Moncrief reach on an infield single to shortstop, putting runners at the corners. Wynton Bernard then dropped an RBI single into center field in front of a charging Rosell Herrera, tying the game at 4-4.

The Isotopes put two runners in scoring position in their half of the ninth, only to have Daniel Castro thrown out at third and Herrera was left stranded at third when Anthony Bemboom struck out to end the inning.

“You don’t win games very often with sporadic hitting,” Hill said. “When you commit unforced errors, when you make baserunning mistakes or you don’t the cutoff man or something like that, (then) when the hitting is not bundled it makes it very difficult.”

James Farris came on to pitch the 10th. With one out, John Polonius tripled off the right field wall. After an intentional walk, Ciriaco drove in the go-ahead run on a suicide squeeze.

Albuquerque went down in order in the bottom of the frame to end the game. It was a disappointing finish, particularly since Barry Enright had pitched another gem. The veteran right-hander allowed three runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out six and not walking a batter.

“Excellent, excellent outing from Enright,” Hill said. “He’s a strike thrower. He threw strikes and pitched a very, very competitive baseball game.”

Colorado Rockies catcher Tom Murphy went 0-for-3 in his second rehab appearance with the Isotopes. There should be more Triple-A games to come.

“It’s too early (to evaluate him),” Hill said. “In fairness to him, he’s trying to find his groove. … Mentally I think he’s ready. Physically it’s harder because the game is played at a fast pace.”

Albuquerque and El Paso (Padres) open a four-game series Monday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Matt Flemer (2-4, 6.86 ERA) will start against Chihuahuas right-hander Andre Rienzo (1-0, 3.03).