Ryan Carpenter and the lineup did just enough to propel the Albuquerque Isotopes to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Sacramento River Cats on Thursday night.
Carpenter (5-6) was not as dominant as some of his recent starts, allowing three runs on 11 hits while striking out four and not walking a batter in 5 2/3 innings.
“It was just kind of one of those nights where I didn’t have everything working,” said Carpenter, who did reach 100 strikeouts on the season. “I felt good out there but talking to our pitching coach (Mark) Brewer something felt a little off. I just couldn’t get everything timed up. I had to grind it out.”
Manager Glenallen Hill noted that Carpenter stayed away from his curveball for three innings, relying mainly on his fastball and changeup.
“It’s one of those things that just wasn’t there for me,” Carpenter said of his curveball. “I just couldn’t get it going down there in the pen. It’s something that’s usually there for me. It’s my favorite offspeed pitch.”
Overall it pleased his manager.
“I think he did a great job,” Hill said. “He didn’t walk anybody.”
Carpenter did enough to battle his way out of trouble with some help from his teammates. The Isotopes (42-44) scratched out just enough runs to take two out of three in the series.
Noel Cuevas doubled and later scored on a fielding error in the second inning to tie the game 1-1.
Orlando Calixte’s solo home run in the third gave Sacramento (33-52) the lead back, only for Albuquerque to wrestle it away for good in the fourth.
Jordan Patterson was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on another error. He scored on Derrik Gibson’s grounder to second base. Daniel Castro, who finished the game 4-for-4, then doubled to right field to give the Isotopes a 3-2 lead.
Ryan McMahon doubled with two outs in the fourth. Two batters later, Patterson dropped a bloop double into right-center to make it 4-2.
Carpenter gave up an RBI double to former Isotope Tim Federowicz in the sixth. That would be it for the scoring in the game.
The trio of Austin House, Zac Rosscup and Carlos Estevez tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. It was Rosscup’s Albuquerque debut after he made two appearances on the road since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs in a trade for Matt Carasiti.
“I didn’t really get us too deep into the game, so for them to come in and shut it out like that was awesome,” Carpenter said.
Rosscup ran into a spot of trouble in the eighth when he gave up a one-out double to Justin Ruggiano. That prompted a visit from Hill.
“He had a low pitch count going back out there,” Hill said. “So I knew he was throwing really well. Even though they got a baserunners I went to go check on him, look him in the eye. I asked if he wanted this guy. Without hesitation him and (catcher Dustin) Garneau said yeah. I like that.”
Rosscup struck out Mac Williamson before Estevez came on to strike out Federowicz and then work his way around two hits in the ninth to earn his first Triple-A save of the season.
The Isotopes will start a three-game series with the Las Vegas 51s on Friday night at 7:05. Right-hander Matt Flemer (2-6, 6.97 ERA) will start for the Isotopes against right-hander Donovan Hand (2-3, 6.86).