Jordan Patterson had another big day for the Albuquerque Isotopes on Tuesday afternoon.
It followed another big month. Which followed a big month before that.
Patterson, one of the Isotopes’ most consistent performers from June onward, went 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI, including the game winner, in Albuquerque’s 7-6 victory over the Iowa Cubs in 12 innings.
“I had to make some changes mechanically in my swing and I needed to reduce my effort, which I did,” Patterson said. “Honestly, it was a couple simple things and those got me going. We’ve taken it into my routine and my approach and we’ll keep rolling with it.”
The Rockies prospect (and recently minted no. 15 PuRP) hit .381/.408/.761 with nine home runs in 29 games in July, following a .330/.393/.521 mark with four homers in June. His season line now sits at .297/.355/.567 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI, leading the team in the latter two categories.
“There’s a lot that goes into it (but) in a nutshell, when he started to shrink his focus and control the way his body was moving and being a good self-evaluator of that process, things started to slow down for him,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “Up until that point they had gotten sped up. He was trying to do it all.”
Another big part of Patterson’s improvement has come against left-handed pitching. It showed in the sixth inning, with the Isotopes (56-54) trailing 6-2 but with two men on and two outs.
Iowa (50-57) pulled starter Williams Perez and brought in former big-league lefty reliever David Rollins. Patterson greeted him with a three-run blast to put his team back in the game.
“Against lefties we’ve really worked on my approach,” Patterson said. “Being selective with what I’m swinging at and really hunting them in an area. I’d seen that guy before so I’m pretty comfortable with him. He got me 2-0 and so I was ready for a dead-red heater middle of the plate and he gave it to me. I was able to put a good swing on it. That one felt pretty good, especially off a lefty.”
Hill has also been impressed by Patterson’s leadership with the other young hitters in the lineup.
“He’s taken on a different leadership role in terms of accountability,” Hill said. “He’s one of the first one of the guys on the team that will hold another teammate accountable for how he’s standing at the plate.”
Tom Murphy tied the game with a solo shot to left with two outs in the eighth.
The score remained tied thanks to another lights-out performance from the Isotopes’ bullpen, which did not allow a hit from the seventh inning onward. The trio of Shane Carle, Jairo Diaz and Austin House (6-1) combined for 5 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just two walks while striking out six.
“Yes, they stepped up today, big-time,” Hill said. “It’s nice to see players get rewarded for a process, you hear me say that word a lot, but there’s been a lot that’s gone into our process in a lot of different areas. When you see our guys executing the fundamentals of the game that’s a reflection of what they’ve heard from the beginning.”
In the 12th, Ryan McMahon singled up the middle with one out. Noel Cuevas then hit a ball through the left side off shortstop Elliot Soto’s glove. McMahon hustled all the way to third, setting up Patterson to drive him in with a sacrifice fly to center field.
“McMahon was heads up going to third base,” Patterson said. “Obviously it’s a lot better first and third with one out than first and second. Then I wanted to get a pitch to hit and really get it past the infielders and that’s what I did.”
It all made up for a rough second Triple-A start for prospect Yency Almonte, who coughed up five runs on eight hits and one walk while recording just one strikeout in five innings.
Albuquerque remained two games back of first-place Salt Lake after the Bees won 13-4 at Nashville.
After a day off Wednesday, the Isotopes will hit the road for eight games at Round Rock and New Orleans.