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Ace pitchers continue to bewilder Isotopes

Reno goes for series sweep today

Coming into this four-game home series, the Albuquerque Isotopes probably thought it was a shame this was their only shot at the lowly Reno Aces all season.

Turns out, the ‘Topes are probably thankful.

Reno, just 14-26 and with the second worst record in the Pacific Coast League coming into the series, made it three-for-three against Albuquerque with a 5-1 win Saturday night in front of 10,642 fans on military appreciation and fireworks night at Isotopes Park.

The Aces have yet to trail in any game of the series. They won the first two 8-3 and 9-4 and today try to become the first road team to sweep a series from the ‘Topes since June 2007, when Nashville took three games.

The last time Albuquerque was swept at home in a four-game series was against Iowa in July 2006.

“Offensively, we just haven’t been very good the last few days,” said Albuquerque manager Lorenzo Bundy, who had a closed-door meeting with his pitchers after Friday’s loss and was equally displeased with his team’s struggles at the plate.

” … Obviously the changes in our roster have affected our roster. The guy who was at the top of the order (Dee Gordon) was pretty good. And the guy in the middle of our order (Scott Van Slyke) was pretty good and the guy who came down and went back up (Tim Federowicz), he was pretty good,” Bundy said of the current Los Angeles Dodgers.

“But somebody else has got to step up. We’re better than what we’ve shown the last two or three nights.

“Are we a whole lot better than that? Probably not, but we’re better than what we’ve shown.”

Reno first baseman Kila Ka’aihue has been as good as the entire ‘Topes’ roster in the series. Ka’aihue, who leads the league in home runs (11), had a key two-run double to make it 5-1 in the fourth. He has as many RBIs — eight — in the series as the Isotopes do.

The Aces scored five runs, four earned, and had eight hits off Albuquerque starter Matt Palmer (1-2) in just four innings. They had four hits in a two-run second to lead 3-1.

The Albuquerque bats at least put the ball in play most of the night, striking out six times compared with 26 times total in the first two games of the series..

But Albuquerque had just six hits and made a pair of errors. It is 4-9 when committing two or more miscues this season.

Reno entered the series with the worst earned run average in the league, but has had three straight strong outings from its starters, including often-battered Randall Delgado on Saturday.

Delgado, acquired from Atlanta in the trade that sent Justin Upton from the D-backs to the Braves, entered the night 0-3 with an ERA of 9.09 in eight starts this season. He held the ‘Topes to one run in 6â…” innings, and it was unearned.

SANCHEZ UPDATE: Bundy said there are no immediate plans for veteran major league pitcher Jonathan Sanchez to join the team, but he probably will in the next couple of weeks. Sanchez signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.

“It will be awhile,” Bundy said on Friday night of Sanchez’s debut with the Isotopes. “He’ll be in Glendale (Ariz.) for extended spring training. I would say he’ll get at least a couple outings there. I wouldn’t want him to come here yet. You can’t come here to this park if you’re not ready.”

The Dodgers hope Sanchez can eventually help their struggling pitching staff, but the lefty hasn’t pitched well in recent years.

He made five appearances (four starts) this season and was released after clearing waivers by Pittsburgh. Sanchez, 30, is a native Puerto Rico. He made his major league debut with San Francisco on May 28, 2006, and threw a scoreless inning in relief of the game in which Barry Bonds hit his 715th home run to pass Babe Ruth for second place on the career homer list.