By the time the Round Rock Express called on infielder Alex De Goti to enter the game as a relief pitcher in the bottom of the seventh inning on Saturday night with “Sweet Caroline” blaring on the Isotopes Park speakers, the wedding reception was hitting its stride.
Sally Jewell and her bridesmaids were dancing away and singing along to Neil Diamond in the fourth-floor suite they rented for their wedding and reception. Groom Sein Bynum was nearby, proudly donning his old school Houston Astros jersey.
The Albuquerque couple — both avid Houston Astro fans — were married at the ballpark earlier in the evening, appropriately enough in the suite once owned for several years by the family of current Houston Astros All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman.
As a gift, the hometown Isotopes showered the new couple with 13 runs over the first five innings en route to a 13-3 win in front of an announced crowd of 9,178 wedding attendees that also got to enjoy a postgame/post-wedding fireworks show.
The win was the third in a row for the Isotopes. They had a 4-for-4 night at the plate from second baseman Peter Mooney, who was a home run shy of the cycle.
“It was nothing special about today. It was just getting balls in the zone and putting good swings on them,” Mooney said. “I know I didn’t chase. … The swing is feeling good right now, so I don’t want to jinx it.”
Since the early July All-Star Break, when Mooney was hitting .227, the 28-year-old from Florida is hitting .442 and has seen his batting average for the season jump to .267.
It wasn’t a bad 24-hour ride for Mooney, who on Friday night caught the ceremonial first pitch of that game from Harrison Schmitt, the former U.S. Senator from New Mexico who walked on the moon as a part of the Apollo 17 mission.
“I didn’t even put two and two together at first,” Mooney said of the connection between Schmitt’s claim to space fame and his last name.
“They just told me to go catch the first pitch and then they told me he walked on the moon and then I got it. I thought it was pretty cool.”
As for at the plate, his manager said it’s all about the work he’s been putting in with hitting coach Tim Doherty.
“(He) came out of the break with a freer mind and made some minor adjustments with TD,” said Glenallen Hill. “So his hands are freed up now and the results are showing.”
DUBIOUS RECORD: In the Top of the fifth, Express catcher Luis Quintana hit a rocket-shot line-drive homer to straight away center field for Round Rock’s second run of the game.
It was also home run No. 210 allowed this season by the Isotopes, a franchise record (209 was the previous record in 2004).
Albuquerque leads all of minor league baseball in home runs allowed. The team also led all of minor league baseball in home runs allowed in 2018, but that total for the entire season was just 182.
GRAND SLAM: Drew Weeks’ hot stretch since the all-star break has also continued for the Isotopes.
His first-inning grand slam was his 14th homer of the season and the team’s ninth of the season, tied for a franchise record for a season (2004).
SOME RELIEF: In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Express finally got some much needed relief from the Isotopes’ offensive onslaught.
And for the Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate, it came from an unlikely source.
Shortstop De Goti, who has played 101 games this season as an infielder, was summoned to the mound with one out in the seventh for his third pitching performance of the season (and of his four-year career).
The 24-year-old righty threw three pitches in the seventh, a 58 mph ball to Sam Hilliard before a 56 mph fastball that got HIlliard to ground out. He then got Pat Valaika to pop out on a 56 mph pitch.
In the eighth, it was more of the same.
In all, De Goti finished with 1⅔ scoreless innings without allowing a hit. He did walk Weeks in the eighth, but in 17 pitches (14 were clocked at below 65 mph), he threw 11 strikes and six balls.
‘TOPES TODAY for Sunday, Aug. 10
Vs. Round Rock
6:05 p.m., Isotopes Park,
610 AM/95.9 FM
Promotion: Mariachis de Nuevo Mexico/lowrider night; gates open at 4 p.m.
Probable starters: Express RHP Rogelio Armenteros (5-6, 5.54) vs. Isotopes RHP Antonio Senzatela (1-1, 5.92)
Saturday: Peter Mooney was 4-for-4 at the plate and Drew Weeks had a pair of hits, including a grand slam. as the Isotopes had an easy go of it in a 13-3 win over the Round Rock Express in front of a fireworks night announced crowd of 9,178.
Rico Garcia allowed two earned runs over six innings for Albuquerque, which has won three games in a row. By the seventh inning, Round Rock called in an infielder (Alex De Goti) to close out the game to save the bullpen for the rest of the series. De Goti was their best pitcher of the night, going 1⅔ innings without allowing a hit and walking only one with 14 of his 17 pitches thrown being clocked at below 65 mph.
Friday: The Isotopes defeated visiting San Antonio 11-10. First pitch was delayed 2 hours and 45 minutes because of rain, and the game ended at 12:51 Saturday morning. Drew Weeks went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and was one of four Isotopes with multi-hit games.
Transaction: The parent Colorado Rockies optioned LHP Sam Howard to Albuquerque Saturday when they reinstated RHP Carlos Estevez from the family medical emergency list.
(Click here for updated Pacific Coast League standings.)