A dozen does it for Albuquerque

Robinson’s five RBI lead Isotopes in 12-8 victory over New Orleans

Five-run spurts in the sixth and seventh innings each proved to be enough for the Isotopes to withstand a ninth-inning rally by the New Orleans Zephyrs and win, 12-8, in front of a crowd of 12,171 at Isotopes Park.

Albuquerque went into their bottom half of the sixth down 4-2, but a two-run, bases-loaded single up the middle from Trayvon Robinson plated Jay Gibbons and Corey Smith to tie the contest. That was followed by another big hit from J.D. Closser, who brought home Jamie Hoffmann and Robinson with a two-run single. A few batters later, pinch-hitter Trent Oeltjen hit a sacrifice fly to get Closser in for a 7-4 ‘Topes lead.

In the seventh, ‘Topes reliever Merkin Valdez took over for starting pitcher Alberto Bastardo and forced the Z’s into a 1-2-3 top of the inning to set up another offensive surge. Russ Mitchell started the bottom half of the inning with a solo home run to left field, making it 8-4 Albuquerque. Singles from Smith, Gibbons and Hoffmann followed, and then Robinson cleared the bases with a long three-run triple to right-center field.

The ‘Topes weren’t done as Closser followed Robinson’s triple with a sacrifice fly that got in Robinson to push the lead to 12-4.

Valdez put up a scoreless eighth and was then replaced by Roman Colon in the ninth inning. Colon had a bit of a tough time in the final frame as New Orleans tagged him with four runs (three of which came off a two-out home run from Ruben Gotay). But he finally stopped the rally with a strike-out of Joe Thurston, bringing on the post-game fireworks for the big Saturday night crowd.

Bastardo (1-0, 4.70 ERA) picked up his first victory of 2011 for Albuquerque, going six innings and giving up four runs (all earned) on eight hits while striking out seven batters. For the Z’s, reliever Burke Badenhop (0-1, 8.38) took the loss after getting shelled in the sixth and seventh innings for nine runs (seven earned) on eight hits.

The Z’s are expected to have right-hander Dallas Trahern (1-0, 3.18) on the mound tomorrow, while Albuquerque’s probable starting pitcher is Francisco Felix (1-0, 1.80). Game time is at 1:35 p.m.

For a more detailed recap of tonight’s game, check out AlbuquerqueBaseball.com later on tonight.

— Chris Estrada

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