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Bullpen brilliance cannot save Albuquerque Isotopes against Iowa Cubs

Trio of relievers unable to make up for struggling Jemiola and silent bats

MLB: Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies
Carlos Estevez retired the final six batters of the game but the Isotopes were unable to rally.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Albuquerque Isotopes’ bullpen was brilliant Monday night.

Starter Zach Jemiola was not.

As a result, the Isotopes lost 5-3 to the visiting Iowa Cubs after a 1-hour, 5-minute rain delay.

Jemiola (4-3) gave up five runs, four earned, on nine hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings. He needed 101 pitches to get that far.

Jairo Diaz retired the last batter of the fifth, Sam Moll retired all six batters he faced and Carlos Estevez retired all six he faced.

“Momentum is earned daily, so (Monday) was a good day for our bullpen,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “And they need to use this day and carry it over into (today). The guys who didn’t pitch in the game (Monday) can look at what happened and use that as momentum going into (today).”

As much as Jemiola struggled, the Isotopes (55-54) could do next-to-nothing against former teammate Eddie Butler (2-0). The right-hander allowed just one run on six hits and one walk while striking out five in five innings.

Cristhian Adames doubled and later scored on Rosell Herrera’s pinch-hit RBI single in the fifth. Albuquerque got its second run in the seventh as as Dustin Garneau walked and later scored on an error. Rafael Ynoa drove in Jordan Patterson with a sacrifice fly in the ninth before a double play ended the game.

On the transaction front, the Colorado Rockies optioned catcher Tony Wolters after acquiring Jonathan Lucroy in a trade on Sunday. That will leave Hill in the difficult position of juggling three backstops — Wolters, Dustin Garneau, Tom Murphy — for the remaining 33 games of the season.

“I’m Houdini, man,” Hill said of his ability to juggle. “Three catchers, we’ve got (33) games left. … That’s (11) games per catcher. Things are always doable.”

The Isotopes will attempt to salvage a series split Tuesday at 12:05 p.m. Right-hander Yency Almonte (1-0, 2.57 ERA) will make his second start for Albuquerque, opposed by Iowa right-hander Williams Perez (5-7, 5.06).