TV Drama Week at Isotopes Park concluded in style Sunday night.
The cast and crew of “Better Call Saul” were in a attendance as the Isotopes and El Paso Chihuahuas played a final dramatic game in their season series. It came three nights after the two teams were featured on the nationally televised “Minor League Game of the Week.”
El Paso got the first laugh pulling out a 13-12 triumph Thursday. Albuquerque got even Sunday.
Cristhian Adames’ two-out infield single and an ensuing throwing error by El Paso reliever Jay Jackson allowed Rafael Ynoa to race home with the winning run as the Isotopes pulled out a wild 5-4 victory. The ‘Topes trailed 4-1 when the ninth-inning started.
“I told (pitching coach Darryl) Scott before the inning started, ‘This one’s going to extra innings,’ ” Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill said. “Fortunately, those positive thoughts paid off. Who’d have thought it?”
Tommy Murphy’s two-run homer and Trevor Story’s tying, two-out RBI single preceded Adames’ key infield hit. Jackson’s error was the second of the inning for the Chihuahuas and both came with two outs.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Story, who battled an 0-2 count to 3-2 before his tying hit. “Hitting is pretty contagious, and we put things together in the ninth. Great team win.”
The combination of Albuquerque’s late rally, postgame fireworks and a little TV star power created an enjoyable evening for the announced 8,606 fans. Stars of “Better Call Saul,” the AMC series set and filmed in Albuquerque, chatted and posed for photos with fans and hammed it up when captured on the stadium’s video board during the game.
Star Bob Odenkirk, who plays attorney Saul Goodman, along with co-stars Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks and Michael Mando, took in the game from seats along the left-field line. Despite spending plenty of time filming in the Duke City in recent years, Sunday marked Odenkirk’s first time attending an Isotopes game.
“When I was doing ‘Breaking Bad’ I came and went so much, I never really had a chance to get out and see anything,” Odenkirk said. “With ‘Better Call Saul’ there are more character-development episodes, which gives us a little more free time – not a lot, but a little, and it’s nice.”
“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston became something of a regular at the park when that series was in production. Odenkirk also came away impressed.
“You’ve got a beautiful ballpark here,” he said, “I mean, come on. This is big league.”
Odenkirk, who grew up in Illinois, has spent plenty of time in other ballparks and sports arenas. He showed up during Sunday’s batting practice wearing a Chicago Blackhawks cap but later visited the pro shop and traded it in for a black Isotopes cap.
“I lived about a block and a half from Wrigley, so …” Odenkirk said with a shrug. “I was at the first official night game, but that’s probably nothing to brag about. Cubs fans wanted to keep playing all home games in the daytime because it was something special.”
As it turned out, Sunday’s dramatics made something special of the impromptu “Better Call Saul” party at Isotopes Park, as well.
“People here have been great to us, and we really appreciate it,” Odenkirk said. “Great night.”