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Isotopes fall to the Grizzlies

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Damon Berryhill might have volunteered to drive the Fresno Grizzlies to the airport after Monday’s matinee at Isotopes Park.

The Albuquerque Isotopes manager had to be getting sick of watching the red-hot Grizzlies torture his team. Fresno pulled out a 5-3 victory Monday to sweep the four-game series and win its ninth straight overall.

Meanwhile, the struggling ‘Topes lost for the fifth time in six games, slipped to 15-16 for the season and were swept in a four-game home series for the first time since 2006. Even worse was the way Monday’s loss unfolded.

Albuquerque took a 3-1 lead to the ninth only to watch it quickly evaporate. The Grizzlies ambushed reliever Jose Dominguez for four runs on four hits and a walk before an out was registered.

“Jose struggled today,” Berryhill said with a frustrated shake of his head. “He didn’t have his fastball command and that hurt. It’s a real shame we let that win slide away from us.”

The Isotopes wasted an impressive outing from starter Carlos Frias, who effectively shut down Fresno’s sizzling offense for seven innings. The right-hander allowed just one run – a sixth-inning homer by Adam Duvall – on five hits. He struck out two and recorded 10 ground-ball outs.

“Carlos was outstanding,” Berryhill said. “His pitch selection and location were really good. He did everything he could to get that first Triple-A win, and he deserved it.”

The Isotopes’ offense, which has sputtered of late, was also quiet against Fresno starter Mike Kickham. But decked out in festive “Los Isotopes” jerseys for Cinco de Mayo, the ‘Topes seemed to do enough to squeak out a win.

Mike Baxter singled and later scored on Jamie Romak’s base hit to give the home team a 1-0 lead in the first. Griff Erickson’s solo homer into the left-field bullpen increased the lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth.

After Duvall’s homer in the sixth made it 2-1, Clint Robinson lined a solo shot to right in the bottom of the eighth, building the lead to 3-1.

But it came unraveled quickly for Dominguez (1-2), who has been up and down between Albuquerque and the Los Angeles Dodgers several times this season.

“It’s been a roller coaster for him,” Berryhill said, “but he’s got to be sharper. Days like this are part of the reason he’s been on that roller-coaster between here and LA.”

Duvall’s homer was his third in two days, and the Fresno first baseman drove in 10 runs in the three-game series.

“(The Grizzlies) are feeling good about themselves right now,” Berryhill said, “We’ve had a tough time the last five games, but we’ll keep grinding and it will turn. It has to. We’re too good a team for this to continue.”

Monday

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