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Late-game heroics lift 'Topes

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — [photoshelter-gallery g_id=’G0000ZpUtV_YtiN4′ g_name=’Isotopes-Vs-Zephyrs-Baseball-05-03-13′ width=’600′ f_fullscreen=’t’ bgtrans=’t’ pho_credit=’iptc’ twoup=’f’ f_bbar=’t’ f_bbarbig=’f’ fsvis=’f’ f_show_caption=’t’ crop=’f’ f_enable_embed_btn=’t’ f_htmllinks=’t’ f_l=’t’ f_send_to_friend_btn=’f’ f_show_slidenum=’t’ f_topbar=’f’ f_show_watermark=’t’ img_title=’casc’ linkdest=’c’ trans=’xfade’ target=’_self’ tbs=’5000′ f_link=’t’ f_smooth=’f’ f_mtrx=’t’ f_ap=’t’ f_up=’f’ height=’400′ btype=’old’ bcolor=’#CCCCCC’ ]

Season’s largest crowd on hand for win, fireworks

After leaving a club record-tying 16 runners on base a night earlier, the Albuquerque Isotopes found plenty of ways to bring them home during an 11-8 marathon win against New Orleans on Friday night.

The game drew the biggest crowd of the season – 11,056 – but the fans had to endure a 3-hour, 39-minute affair before getting to watch the postgame fireworks.

It was the ‘Topes’ longest game of the season.


Vs. New Orleans, 7:05 p.m.
Radio: 610 AM Probable starters: Zephyrs LHP Duane Below (1-0, 3.60) vs. Isotopes RHP Angel Castro (2-1, 2.52).
Friday: Albuquerque scored three in the seventh and six in the eighth to erase a 4-2 deficit and beat New Orleans 11-8 in the opener of a four-game series at Isotopes Park.
Albuquerque had 13 hits; the Zephyrs had 12.
Tony Gwynn Jr. was 3-for-5 for the Isotopes.
This and that: For the second straight game, it’s Little League Night and there will be a fireworks show after the contest.
… During Albuquerque’s 8-4 loss to Memphis on Thursday, the Isotopes’ Dee Gordon had four walks and reached by error, but the latter was changed to a hit late Thursday night after the game.
… Matt Palmer has pitched for three major league teams, all in California – San Diego, San Francisco and the Los Angeles Angels. If he gets called up by the Dodgers, he’ll have thrown for 80 percent of the teams in the Golden State (Oakland is the other).
… Albuquerque’s Brian Barden owns the longest hitting streak in Zephyrs history at 22 games. He did it in the final 22 games of the 2010 season.

It came on the heels of Thursday’s contest that lasted 3:23, in which the ‘Topes couldn’t take advantage of 11 walks and a hit batter – and went- 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position – in an 8-4 loss to Memphis.

But aside from being lengthy, Friday was a much different outing for Albuquerque. It erased a 4-2 deficit with a three-run, error-aided seventh, then added six more runs on four hits in the eighth. New Orleans scored four in the ninth and left two on when it finally ended.

How different were the two nights?

Isotopes centerfielder Matt Angle went 0-for-3 on Friday – but had three RBIs.

Huh?

He had a sacrifice fly in the first, a ground-out that scored a run in the seventh and a bases-loaded walk in the big eighth.

For most of the first six innings, the Isotopes had trouble producing runs off New Orleans starter Jacob Turner.

Turner had no such problem with the Isotopes.

The former major league pitcher took that 4-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh and had outscored Albuquerque on his own. Turner was 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored.

But Turner, who had never had a hit in 17 plate appearances prior to Friday’s game was, never got a chance for another plate appearance.

Ozzie Martinez started the Isotopes’ seventh with a walk and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dee Gordon. It was the Isotopes’ fifth bunt of the game – the first three going for singles and the last two for sacrifices.

Elian Herrera hit a routine grounder off of Turner, but Zephyrs shortstop Wilson Valdez bobbled it for an error to put runners on first and third with one out. That chased Turner, and that’s when it got wild.

Literally.

Angle’s broken-bat grounder to first brought home Martinez and New Orleans reliever Dan Jennings followed with back-to-back wild pitches, allowing Herrera to tie it 4-4.

Tim Federowicz then ripped a triple and scored on the Zephyrs’ second error of the inning.

Federowicz had another big blow in the eighth inning with a two-run single. Gordon had an RBI double in the inning and Brian Barden added one of his two doubles.

The 11-4 lead looked to be more than enough, but the Isotopes had to hang on after the Zephyers’ big ninth.

Pitcher Aaron Laffey, who signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this week and joined the team on Thursday, got the win in relief.

Laffey, who is scheduled to start on Monday against New Orleans, threw two-thirds of an innings and allowed two hits and had two strikeouts and didn’t allow a run.

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