Iowa takes series finale, 10-6

Three-run seventh inning for Iowa puts game out of reach for Albuquerque

Returning the favor for the past two nights, the Iowa Cubs used their bats well to win today, 10-6, and avoid a series sweep at the hands of the Isotopes.

The I-Cubs held a 7-4 lead until the top half of the seventh inning, when Bobby Scales hit a bases-loaded chop double off ‘Topes reliever Travis Schlichting to bring home all three runners. Schlichting had forced the I-Cubs’ Marquez Smith and Matt Camp into ground outs to begin the seventh, but that was followed by a double from Jonathan Mota and a pair of walks from pinch-hitter Brian LaHair and Fernando Perez to set up Scales’ big double.

Albuquerque took the point, 2-0, in the bottom of the second after newcomer Charlie Mirabal knocked in two runs with a double to left field. Mirabal’s first Triple-A hit brought home Damaso Espino and Joe Becker.

However, Iowa battled back and tagged ‘Topes starter Randy Keisler with two runs of their own in the third inning to tie the game. The I-Cubs followed that with a five-run outburst in the fourth inning. That wound up chasing off Keisler, who gave up seven runs (all earned) on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings of work.

The ‘Topes cut the lead to 7-4 in their half of the fourth on the strength of a Mirabal ground out that scored Keyter Collado and a RBI single from Keisler’s replacement on the mound, Ramon Troncoso. But with Troncoso on second (the result of a balk) and Dee Gordon on first (walk), Trent Oeltjen struck out and Jerry Sands grounded out, ending the ‘Topes’ rally.

An RBI triple from Sands and a Jon Link grounder that brought him home allowed Albuquerque to cut the lead to 10-6 in the bottom of the ninth, but the I-Cubs’ Scott Maine forced Trayvon Robinson into a ground out to end the contest.

Taking the win for Iowa was starter Roberto Coello, who pitched five innings and gave up four runs (all earned) on eight hits. He struck out four.

The ‘Topes now head on the road for a bit, starting tomorrow in Oklahoma City. After Friday, Saturday and Monday games against the RedHawks, they’ll be in Des Moines starting Tuesday to battle these same I-Cubs for four games on their turf.

As far as injuries are concerned, the ‘Topes had more trouble on Thursday as John Lindsey strained his right calf muscle. Evaluations are pending on last year’s Pacific Coast League batting champion. Espino was also hit in the head during an at-bat but managed to get up and walk to first, then eventually score off of Mirabal’s second-inning double before he left the game. He did not sustain a concussion and has been cleared to play tomorrow against the RedHawks.

For a full recap of today’s game, check out later this evening.

— Chris Estrada

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