Sometimes a little business meeting pays dividends.
The Albuquerque Isotopes canceled batting practice in favor of an afternoon get-together Wednesday afternoon. They then played with a purpose in a 7-3 victory over Fresno at Isotopes Park.
Pitching? Starter Ryan Carpenter and five relievers combined to strike out 14 Grizzlies hitters — and record some key outs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Hitting? The ‘Topes had just nine hits overall but four of them were two-out, run-scoring singles.
The solid overall performance ended a frustrating stretch during which the Isotopes’ last four losses came after blowing leads in the eighth inning or later.
“I think the meeting was good,” said ‘Topes second baseman Ryan McMahon, who went 2-for-4 and belted his first Triple-A home run.
“It’s a long season and you’re going to have points where everyone needs to get checked back in and refocus. I think we had a good talk and accomplished that.”
McMahon got things started with an opposite-field homer to left-center in the first inning. A recent addition from Double-A, McMahon wasn’t entirely sure he’d gotten enough of the ball.
“I thought I did,” he said, “but I still sprinted out of the box just in case. The wind wasn’t blowing out like it usually does. I was glad to see it go.”
Carpenter took advantage of the early support, attacking Fresno’s powerful lineup to good effect. The left-hander allowed just two singles through five innings and struck out nine, but he allowed two hits to start the sixth and left after throwing 96 pitches.
That was cause for fan concern, considering how the Isotopes bullpen had performed of late, but the relievers were largely solid Wednesday. Austin House got arguably the biggest out of the evening in the seventh, getting Teoscar Hernandez to fly out to shallow right with runners on the corners and Albuquerque leading 4-2.
Rosell Herrera’s two-run single then helped the Isotopes pull away in the eighth.
“I think we were battling all night,” McMahon said. “(Fresno starter David Martinez) had good stuff, but we started winning some of the battles when in counted.”
HITTING THE WAFFLES: Grizzlies outfielder Derek Fisher was called up by the Houston Astros after Tuesday’s game in Albuquerque. It wasn’t soon enough to suit the Isotopes.
Fisher went 11-for-21 in five games against the ‘Topes this season with three home runs, three doubles and 10 RBIs.
He was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs on Tuesday before learning of his promotion. His final minor league meal came at an Albuquerque Waffle House shortly after midnight.
Fisher smacked a solo home run, singled in a run and walked twice in his major league debut.
TIP OF THE CAP PART 2: A.J. Reed made it two golden sombreros in as many nights for the Grizzlies on Wednesday. Fresno’s first baseman struck out swinging four straight times. Catcher Max Stassi fanned four times in four at-bats Tuesday.
EVERSON SPLITS: Albuquerque hitting coach Darin Everson earned a split in his two games as replacement manager. Regular skipper Glenallen Hill was suspended for two games after being ejected from the Isotopes’ June 8 loss to El Paso. Hill is set to return to the dugout tonight.