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'Topes Win Despite Their Sloppy Play

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Bundy Apologizes For Sloppy Play

In a word, yuck!

The Albuquerque Isotopes staggered through three of the ugliest innings you’ll see Monday night, kicking the ball around and all but handing visiting Memphis a win in the opener of an eight-game homestand.

Every member of the ‘Topes’ starting infield committed an error in the first three innings as the Redbirds grabbed a 6-1 lead.

Monday Isotopes 9 Redbirds 8 More baseball

The last five innings? A wildly different story.

A four-run fifth got the Isotopes back in the game, and a four-run seventh won it. The unlikely 9-8 victory kept Albuquerque tied with Oklahoma City atop the Pacific Coast League’s American Southern division.

As for those first three innings…

“It was ugly,” ‘Topes manager Lorenzo Bundy said. “I apologize to our fans.”

On the other hand…

“The guys found a way to put nine runs on the scoreboard,” he added. “As ugly as things started, there were a lot of good things down the stretch.”

From Bundy’s perspective, Monday was strange long before the game’s first pitch. Roster shuffling by the parent Los Angeles Dodgers gradually trickled down to Albuquerque, resulting in an odd lineup.

First, Scott Van Slyke and Elian Herrera rejoined the Isotopes on Monday. Van Slyke started at first base, Herrera at shortstop. Nothing unusual there.

However, a glut of infielders prompted Bundy to start Ivan De Jesus Jr. in left field. It was his first professional outfield appearance in 686 games, and Memphis did not hit a fly ball to left during De Jesus’ six innings in the grass.

“You’re going to see a lot of different lineups,” Bundy said, “and that includes Ivan playing some outfield. We have seven position players now who are on (the Dodgers’) 40-man roster, and we have to fulfill the needs of those guys. That means I have to manage. I have to find ways to get guys in games.”

Uncertainty surrounding Chad Billingsley’s sore pitching arm impacted the Isotopes, too. Stephen Fife, Monday’s scheduled starter, was held back as the Dodgers considered whether or not Billingsley would need a stint on the disabled list.

No decision on Billingsley arrived Monday. Reliever Bret Montgomery made his first start of the season for the ‘Topes, while Fife spent the evening pacing in the dugout and coaching first base.

Montgomery struggled, allowing five hits and three walks in 2â…” innings. His outing likely would have lasted longer without the four errors by his defense, however.

“We were short with Montgomery starting,” Bundy said, “and we didn’t help him at all. We had four errors and it could’ve been six.”

Van Slyke had one of them, an errant throw to second on a potential double-play ball in Memphis’ three-run third.

“I don’t really have an excuse,” Van Slyke said. “Most of the guys got up at 3:30 (a.m.), so go easy on them. I was here sleeping, so no excuse.”

But for the second game in a row, the ‘Topes overcame a five-run deficit.

“We’re not ever worried about scoring runs,” Van Slyke said of Albuquerque’s 15-hit attack.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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