The Albuquerque Isotopes closed out the home slate of their season with a 3-0 victory over the Reno Aces on Thursday night.
Reno (78-60) still clinched a division title as Fresno lost 5-1 at El Paso.
The Isotopes (66-71) drew an impressive crowd of 12,234 fans on a weekday. That gave them 542,502 for the season, an average of 7,978 per game, up from 7,795 last season.
“Our fans have shown up all year round, all year long, and absolutely it feels good to leave that memory of baseball on a winning note for them,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “They were into it, too. It was great, man.”
Notably absent from the Albuquerque lineup were catcher Tom Murphy, infielder Ryan McMahon and outfielder Mike Tauchman. All seem likely to join the Colorado Rockies today.
Tauchman did pick up a nice going away present in a most valuable player trophy, awarded to him by his teammates in the annual pregame ceremony to end the season.
The other award winners were Ryan Carpenter (Pitcher of the Year), Jordan Patterson (Power Hitter of the Year), Daniel Castro (Defensive Player of the Year), Rosell Herrera (Mr. Hustle), Matt Flemer (Most Community Minded) and Austin House (Fan Favorite).
Patterson showed why he won his award with his team-leading 25th home run of the season, a monstrous solo blast that landed more than midway up the grass berm above right field. The solo shot put Albuquerque ahead in the fourth inning.
“That was a long home run,” Hill said. “He’s worked hard these last two months of the season. He’s made some adjustments and turned this year into a very good year for himself. And he’s not done, he’s got four more (games).”
Two batters later, Ryan Howard belted his third homer, also a solo shot, that hit off the back tent in the picnic area above left field.
Throw in a solo shot by Anthony Bemboom in the seventh and that accounted for all the Isotopes scoring. It was more than enough for Yency Almonte (3-1) and rehabbing Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson.
“It was definitely a step in the right direction for Almonte,” Hill said. “He’s had to make some adjustments and when you get challenged sometimes you want to do more. He realized that’s not the route you want to take. You want to focus on being consistent and tight with your body movement and he did that tonight.”
Almonte tossed five scoreless innings, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out two. The latter retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, four by strikeout, while allowing only one hit.
“He has a high level of expectation and when he’s pitching with his instincts and just charging, it’s really good,” Hill said of Anderson. “He has special stuff.”
Shane Carle then earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
The series will now shift to Reno for the final four games of the season, starting Friday at 8:05 p.m. Right-hander Thad Weber (1-6, 7.38 ERA) will start for the Isotopes, while the Aces have not announced a starter.