The Albuquerque Isotopes’ playoff chances are all but dead after an 8-1 thrashing at the hands of the first-place Salt Lake Bees on Sunday night.
Albuquerque (63-70) trails Salt Lake (67-66) by 4 1/2 games with eight to play.
There were still some bright spots to be found, however. Two rehabbing Colorado Rockies, starting pitcher Tyler Anderson and shortstop-first baseman Ian Desmond, both had their moments.
Anderson, making his first pitching appearance since being placed on the disabled list back on June 26, went one-plus inning, allowing four runs on five hits and one walk while striking out two. He threw 22 of 33 pitches for strikes.
Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill said Anderson was “not sharp,” but all things considered, it was just good to see him pitching again.
“I was happy that he was on the mound, in his element, getting in what he needs to get in,” Hill said.
Anderson has been out with inflammation in his left knee. Hill said there did not appear to be any trouble with the knee.
“I didn’t even notice it,” Hill said. “And the ball looked like it was coming out of his hand good. That’s a positive movement in the right direction.”
Anderson’s outing looked good to his Rockies teammate, no matter the final line.
“He looked good, he didn’t give up a lot of hard-hit balls,” Desmond said. “He looked sharp, they just put some swings on balls that got down. It was a good start, for sure.”
Desmond went 1-for-4 with a monstrous solo home run in the fourth inning that cleared the back fence of Isotopes Park.
“I just put my head down and ran,” Desmond said of the blast.
Desmond shrugged off the length of the home run, but his manager did not.
“He hit it into the parking lot, let’s just be honest,” Hill said with a laugh. “And he played very well at shortstop, moved like one would expect from a guy who’s just been blessed with a lot of athletic ability and a quiet mind that’s lethal.”
Desmond started the game at shortstop and made an impressive running scoop of a grounder to his right in the fifth inning. Desmond threw across his body in time to get the speedy Eric Young Jr. at first base.
“I felt good, I felt like I was surprised with how natural things were,” Desmond said. “I wasn’t like forgetting to let the guy on second know I was covering, things like that.”
Desmond got Saturday night off, but overall his rehab stint has seen him go 3-for-9 at the plate with a double and the home run. It remains to be seen if he will play one more game or be activated from the disabled list Monday.
“Personally, I feel good,” Desmond said. “My calf feels good, I feel strong. I feel like I got more work here in a lot of different spots and I felt like I was productive. I feel good where I’m at.”
After Anderson departed following a leadoff single in the second inning, James Farris came in and gave up a two-run homer to Michael Hermosillo, who later added a solo shot in the eighth inning.
Sam Howard, the original scheduled starter, then pitched the final seven innings. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two.
“It was definitely a momentum start for him,” Hill said. “The last time he pitched he was really challenged (early). He seemed to settle down (Sunday night) and executed some pitches. He’s definitely in the maturation process and I think he took a step forward.”
The Isotopes will open their final four-game home series against the Reno Aces on Monday at 6:35 p.m. Lefty Ryan Carpenter (8-9, 4.37 ERA) will start for Albuquerque against a to-be-named Reno pitcher.