Isotopes 4, Zephyrs 2
Alburquerque scored three unearned runs in the top of the ninth to avoid a four-game sweep and end a five-game losing streak on Thursday at Zephyr Field.
After errors by Zephyrs shortstop Miguel Rojas and reliever Salvador Sanchez to start the inning, Albuquerque (19-29) then got an RBI single by shortstop Angelys Nina, tying the score. First baseman Kyle Parker followed with a two-run single to left.
New Orleans (23-22) had taken a 2-1 lead when Jordany Valdespin drove in Miguel Rojas with a triple in the bottom of the seventh, then scored when Albuquerque catcher Ryan Casteel’s pickoff throw went into left field.
Tommy Kahnle (1-2) blanked New Orleans in the eighth and ninth to get the win.
The Isotopes had taken a 1-0 lead when Parker led off the fourth inning with a home run to left field against Justin Nicolino. It was the first time in the series the Zephyrs did not score first.
Catcher Jeff Mathis completed his rehab assignment with the Zephyrs on Thursday night, but he’s not going back to the Miami Marlins.
In four games with the Z’s, He did not reach base, going 0-for-10 with no walks. He struck out twice. He played five innings each game.
Mathis will continue his assignment with the Double-A Jacksonville Suns on Friday, joining the team in Birmingham.
He had been on the disabled list since April 13 after his right ring finger was broken the day before against the Tampa Bay Rays. He was hit by a foul tip in the eighth inning.
Seeking a grove
Left-hander Travis Blackley will make his second start when the Zephyrs begin their series at Reno on Friday.
He made his first start since training camp on Sunday against El Paso and gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings. Saying he had lost velocity on his pitches, he began working with pitching coach John Duffy on Monday.
“Hopefully, we made some adjustments, and we’ll see how it goes from there,” Duffy said. “He was striding too far or not being able to use his lower half and let his backside fire through his pitchers. When that happens, instead of driving through the (strike) zone, you push the ball through it and the ball stays elevated flat.”
Duffy said Blackley had a good bullpen session on Tuesday.
“His secondary pitches was more consistent in his bullpen (session),” Duffy said. “It’s understandable. He hasn’t pitched in three months.
He just has to get back on the horse.”
Duffy, 32, was signed by the Marlins on April 25 after being released by the San Francisco Giants. He last pitched in the Majors in 2013, playing last year in Japan.
Juan Diaz, who hit a pinch-hit, run-scoring single in the eighth to win Wednesday’s game, led off the bottom of the third Thursday with a single. It put him at 4-for-4 in the series. He came into the game batting .232, but had raised his average 51 points since May 13. …
The Z’s begin a four-game series at the Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate) on Friday, the start of an eight-game road trip that also includes four games at the Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City Royals). Heading into Thursday’s games, the Aces were tied for the Pacific Coast League lead in batting at .293, but high team batting averages are usually the norm for teams who play in the West, where the high-altitude air is thinner. Conversely, Reno (5.18) is 13th in earned-run average. The Zephyrs (3.02) lead the league.