It was a Sellers market Tuesday night at Isotopes Park.
Every so often in a baseball season, you have a night when everything falls into place. This was one of those instances, thanks in no small measure to the hidden strength of Justin Sellers, who drove in six runs for Albuquerque with a home run and a pair of doubles as the Isotopes routed hapless Nashville 10-1 at Isotopes Park.
“I felt good tonight,” said Sellers. “I got back to where I needed to be.”
After a brief funk that lasted a few games, Sellers broke out in a big way as Albuquerque remained tied with Round Rock for first place in the PCL’s American South.
His home run was hit about as far as any ball he hit this year. It glanced off the scoreboard in left-center, about 430 feet away. It was just his second of the year.
“I hit that one really well,” Sellers said.
His swing, manager Lorenzo Bundy said, has been inconsistent. It took him three weeks, Bundy laughed, to get his first single of the season.
“But he’s been really productive here,” Bundy added, “and we need to be able to carry that to the next level.”
Sellers clearly felt like he turned a corner Tuesday night.
“I just have to … trust my hands, trust my ability,” he said. “It’s all a matter of confidence, and my confidence is high right now.”
The Isotopes outhit the Sounds 18-5. Nashville (32-61) has, by multiple games, the worst record in the league.
The teams end their three-game series tonight. Then Albuquerque heads to Iowa for four games, followed by the Triple-A All-Star break. The Isotopes are back home July 18 against Omaha.
The six RBIs by Sellers tied a team high this season.
Chili Buss, the Isotopes’ lone Triple-A All-Star, twice has driven in six runs. And Buss had a pretty fair night himself, with a 450-foot home run to center and two other hard-hit balls.
But it was shortstop Sellers that laid waste to Nashville starter Chris Narveson. And Sellers sure didn’t swing like a guy who stands 5-feet-10 and weighs a mere 160 pounds.
“I know, you’re right,” Sellers said with a smile. “I’ve been working a lot with (hitting coach) Franklin Stubbs … to get dialed in.”
Sellers ripped a bases-loaded, three-RBI double down the left-field line in the bottom of the first, belted a long solo home run off the scoreboard in the third – just two pitches after Buss’ monster shot – and plated two more runs with a bloop double in the fourth.
“Justin Sellers? We could describe as having a major league glove,” said Bundy. “With an above-average Triple-A bat. And we’re trying to get that Triple-A bat to the big leagues and make it productive.”
Sellers, 27, finished 4-for-5 and now leads Isotopes regulars with a .329 average.
Albuquerque (52-41) has only had two other wins this season by a wider margin than Tuesday night.
Starter Matt Palmer (5-3) held Nashville to four hits over seven innings to earn the victory.
The right-hander walked two and struck out nine. He made only one mistake, to Hainley Statia, who homered leading off the top of the fourth.
“He was really good,” Bundy said of Palmer. “Being the veteran guy he is, he pounded the strike zone.”
MARMOL UPDATE: Reliever Carlos Marmol, acquired recently by the Dodgers from the Cubs, is slated to throw an inning tonight at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
It is still expected that Marmol – someone Los Angeles dearly hopes can help during its pennant chase – will appear with the Isotopes at some point.
CASTELLANOS: Albuquerque outfielder Alex Castellanos was named the PCL Player of the Week for the period ending July 7. He had four multi-hit games in the week leading up to the announcement.