Home runs have certainly been a huge part of the Albuquerque Isotopes’ equation this season – both positive numbers and negative.
No team in Triple-A has been involved in more long balls in 2022. The ‘Topes have belted a Pacific Coast League-leading 111 in 73 games and surrendered 130, the most of any Triple-A club.
The numbers didn’t really add up in Albuquerque’s favor Tuesday night. Visiting Sugar Land socked three long solo homers while the Isotopes came up with just one at Isotopes Park
But it was a big one.
Alan Trejo’s 11th-inning grand slam – the first walk-off slam in franchise history – lifted the ‘Topes to a stunning 11-9 victory. The Isotopes overcame two-run deficits in the ninth and 11th innings to pull out the win.
Trejo also scored the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to force the game to extra innings.
“Fun game,” Trejo said. “We talk about it in the clubhouse all the time, just fight. Results don’t always come; I lined out with the bases loaded earlier in the game, but I put a good swing on that pitch (in the 11th). It’s an amazing feeling.”
Trejo’s blast to center field was his fifth this season and home run No. 112 for the ‘Topes, who have set a franchise record with 53 bombs this month. They crushed eight homers Saturday night at Las Vegas, tying the single-game club record set June 15 against visiting Salt Lake.
Yes, that’s a lot of homers. Albuquerque is on pace to better its season record of 212 home runs hit in 2019.
And it’s been very much a group effort. Nineteen Isotopes have joined the home-run derby this season, with four players (Wynton Bernard, Sean Bouchard, Elehuris Montero and Carlos Perez) having reached double figures.
It’s not necessarily a “Murderers’ Row” kind of lineup, but Trejo isn’t surprised by his team’s hitting success.
“Home runs come from mistakes made by the pitchers,” Trejo said, “but this group of individuals can flat out hit. (Hitting coach) Jordan Pacheco has done a great job helping us and the numbers show it.”
Manager Warren Schaeffer said he wasn’t surprised by Trejo’s home run or by the Isotopes’ long-ball prowess.
“I always expect Alan Trejo to do things like that,” Schaeffer said. “He’s a big-time hitter, especially in clutch situations. As for the team, I guess it’s not something where I expected us to set any kind of home-run record, but it’s a good hitting lineup top to bottom.
“When we get rolling, the snowball can turn into an avalanche. It’s fun to watch.”
On the other side of the coin, Albuquerque has been entirely unable to keep opposing hitters from leaving the yard. Through Tuesday’s games, the Isotopes’ 130 homers allowed led second-place El Paso (108 allowed) by a comfortable margin in the PCL. Charlotte leads the International League with 122 surrendered.
But for one night at least, one home run hit was bigger than three allowed.
NOTE: The Isotopes attracted an announced crowd of 6,347 for 50-cent hot dog night – and sold quite a few of them Tuesday. The club announced 21,452 hot dogs were sold. That’s an average of 3.38 hot dogs per fan.
‘TOPES WEDNESDAY: Vs. Sugar Land
6:35 p.m., Isotopes Park, 610 AM/95.9 FM
PROBABLES: Space Cowboys RHP J.P. France (2-3, 4.71) vs. Isotopes RHP Jose Urena (0-1, 8.40)
TUESDAY: Alan Trejo’s grand slam in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Isotopes a dramatic 11-9 victory over visiting Sugar Land in the opener of a six-game series in front of 6,347 fans at Isotopes Park.
The Isotopes trailed 7-5 with two outs in the ninth but forced extra innings on Scott Schebler’s single to right. Carlos Perez scored on the hit and Trejo came home on a throwing error.
The Space Cowboys took a 9-7 lead in the top of the 11th, but Dom Nunez doubled and Carlos Perez walked in front of Trejo’s blast to center field. It was the first walk-off grand slam in team history.
(Box score: Albuquerque 11, Sugar Land 9)
(Click here for updated Pacific Coast League standings.)