Justice was not on the Albuquerque Isotopes’ side Monday.
Even after his team nearly pulled out a remarkable ninth-inning victory, ’Topes manager Lorenzo Bundy felt the right side ultimately prevailed in New Orleans’ 9-8, 11-inning win in a School Day matinee at Isotopes Park.
Albuquerque trailed 8-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth and was probably lucky to be that close. The Zephyrs had stranded 16 baserunners to that point, while the ’Topes had stranded just three.
Regardless, the home team mounted a furious rally to tie and had red-hot Tim Federowicz at the plate with the bases loaded.
But Federowicz flied out to end the inning, and Matt Downs’ RBI double ultimately won it for New Orleans two innings later.
“I would have loved to have (the win),” Bundy said. “Did we deserve it? Probably not.”
The box score served to back Bundy’s argument. New Orleans outhit Albuquerque 21-11.
The Isotopes also hurt their cause with sloppy mistakes on the basepaths and in the field, allowing the visitors to earn a split of the four-game series.
“Not exactly the way you want to end a homestand,” Bundy lamented.
Things started turning the Zephyrs’ way in the bottom of the fourth with Albuquerque leading 3-2. Federowicz led off with a high fly ball to the warning track in right field that New Orleans’ Bryan Peterson settled under but was unable to catch.
Federowicz had been jogging to second, but rounded and raced for third once the ball bounced. He reached the base safely but slid past and was tagged out.
“If he runs hard in the first place,” Bundy said, “he doesn’t even have to slide.”
Chili Buss followed with a single but was caught stealing, and the ’Topes failed to score in the inning. Same story in the fifth, when Ozzie Martinez doubled and advanced to third on an error with no outs only to be stranded.
The ’Topes trailed 4-3 in the top of the sixth, when a pair of walks and a two-out Downs pop fly quickly increased the deficit. The high pop to right field turned into an adventure when Isotopes first baseman Scott Van Slyke called for the ball as he backpedaled into medium right field.
Outfielder Buss raced in but pulled up as he neared Van Slyke. The ball dropped, two runs scored, and Koyie Hill followed with an RBI double. New Orleans led 7-4.
“A lot of chicken mmmmmm in the middle innings,” Bundy said. “We messed it up and the momentum of the game swung.”
The Isotopes nearly overcame all their miscues in the ninth. Federowicz led off with his second solo home run of the game — a monster, 450-foot blast to center field — that made the score 8-5.
Federowicz has seven long balls and 20 RBIs and is hitting .531 in limited action for the Isotopes.
Albuquerque still trailed 8-5 with runners on the corners and two outs, but Tony Gwynn Jr. and Elian Herrera delivered RBI singles to make it 8-7. Matt Angle worked a walk to load the bases, and New Orleans closer Chris Hatcher then plunked Van Slyke to tie the score.
“It was a good rally off a veteran closer,” Bundy said. “Too bad we couldn’t finish it off.”
The Isotopes could not manage a baserunner off reliever Jordan Smith (3-1) in the final two innings. Anthony Ortega (1-1) allowed a run, four hits and a walk in two innings to take the loss.