The second half of the Pacific Coast League season started off with a bang for the Isotopes tonight, as a strong performance from pitcher Randy Keisler and another great offensive effort propelled them to an 11-4 win over the Oklahoma City RedHawks. It’s Albuquerque’s fourth win in five nights.
Let’s check out tonight’s three stars of the game. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure how who gets the first star:
1. Randy Keisler (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K), Albuquerque
After allowing just one unearned run in an 8-2 win over the ‘Hawks last Thursday in Oklahoma City, Keisler continued to lock them down in the opening game of this four-game set here in Albuquerque. After taking over for rehabbing Dodgers pitcher Jonathan Broxton in the second inning (Broxton was scheduled to pitch the first inning or around 25 pitches), the Texas native proceeded to put up what has to be his best effort of 2011.
2. J.D. Closser (3-for-5, two RBI, two runs scored), Albuquerque
The catcher played a key role in Albuquerque’s four-run first that gave them the edge for good out of the gate. Closser’s two-out single to right-center broke a 1-1 tie and started a back-to-back-to-back string of RBI singles that gave the home team a 4-1 edge after one inning. He also chipped in with another RBI base hit in the seventh.
3. Eugenio Velez (3-for-4, two RBI, one run scored), Albuquerque
Velez’s biggest contribution to the ‘Topes’ offensive output came in their three-run burst during the bottom of the sixth inning. With Albuquerque up 7-1, the second baseman knocked a base hit to right field that brought home J.D. Closser and Jamie Hoffmann to extend the lead to 9-1. While no lead is ever completely safe in Isotopes Park, Velez’s single seemed to make things feel a little safer.
Let’s talk pitching
Dodgers pitcher Jonathan Broxton began his Major League rehab assignment tonight for Albuquerque, giving up one run in the first but striking out two RedHawks batters in his inning of work (23 pitches). As he comes back from a bone bruise in his right elbow, the same plan for him going into tonight — throwing the first inning or around 25 pitches — will be followed on his next scheduled outing, which comes Thursday.
Isotopes acting manager John Valentin felt Broxton’s main goal was accomplished: Making sure he’d be good for the next go-round.
“The most important thing is he came out of there healthy and ready for his next showing on Thursday. He got his work in and felt good, so it’s a good sign.”
After Broxton finished his work, Randy Keisler came on and twirled a gem for the ‘Topes. The left-hander, now 4-2 on the campaign, credited his success on Tuesday to his curveball.
“I’ve been fighting finding my curveball all season and I’m just trying to being consistent with it,” Keisler said. “In my last bullpen session with [pitching coach] Glenn Dishman, something just clicked and it was definitely working tonight.”
June 21 Game Notes
Oklahoma City RedHawks (30-42) at Albuquerque Isotopes (41-30)
OKC- RHP Sergio Perez (4-5, 4.22 ERA)
ALB- RHP Jonathan Broxton (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Click here for 6-21-11_Notes
After relying on big-time offense during their first two wins against the Iowa Cubs in this series, the Albuquerque Isotopes grabbed their third win out of four today against the visitors from Des Moines (a 4-3 triumph) with a combination of timely hitting and strong pitching. It’s nice to win with big bats, but as the second half of the Pacific Coast League season starts tomorrow, it’s going to be critical to take these close ones.
Fortunately, the ‘Topes know how to do the job. They’re now 18-6 in one-run contests.
Let’s check out today’s three stars of the game:
1. Ivan De Jesus Jr. (2-for-4, 2 RBI), Albuquerque
The red-hot third baseman continued his solid work as of late with a pair of RBI doubles, including what would be the game-winning two-bagger that broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning. De Jesus has extended his current hitting streak to eight games overall, but even better for him, he’s tallied five straight games with multiple hits. In those five multi-hit contests, he’s gone 12-for-22 at the dish for a smokin’ .545 average.
2. Trayvon Robinson (2-for-4, HR (16), 2 RBI), Albuquerque
After a bit of a cold spell, Robinson has managed to climb back into the .300 range in recent times and he kept up his momentum with a monster two-run homer to center field that helped the ‘Topes jump ahead of the Cubs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Robinson also singled in the sixth inning on Monday afternoon.
3. Dana Eveland (7 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K), Albuquerque
Both Eveland and Iowa starting pitcher Ramon Ortiz (7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) had solid outings, but the Isotopes’ ace comes away with the third star after getting his seventh win of the year. Eveland had a couple of big moments on Monday. He got out of a two-out bases-loaded jam in the Iowa half of the fifth by inducing a pop out from the Cubs’ Scott Moore. Then in the seventh inning, after Iowa tied the game, 3-3, with one gone, he managed to collect a fly out from Bryan LaHair and then struck out Moore to keep the game tied.
Honorable Mentions: Reliever Travis Schlichting and closer Jon Link managed to preserve the one-run lead after Eveland’s exit. Schlichting recorded a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Link shut down the Cubs in the ninth for his seventh save of the year.
Valentin fills in for Bundy
Isotopes hitting coach John Valentin served as Albuquerque’s acting manager for today’s game, as skipper Lorenzo Bundy went to Los Angeles to fill in as the Dodgers’ third base coach for their game tonight against the Detroit Tigers (8:10 p.m. MT). Regular Dodgers third base coach and former Isotopes manager Tim Wallach is currently absent from the team after his father passed away on Saturday.
The Isotopes made two additions to their roster on Monday, as left-handed pitcher David Pfeiffer was called up to Albuquerque from Double-A Chattanooga and infielder Joe Becker came over from Single-A Great Lakes.
Pfeiffer joins the ‘Topes after making 23 appearances for the Lookouts, in which he attained a 4-1 record and a 3.50 ERA. The Florida native had 46.1 innings pitched, struck out 31 batters and walked 11.
As for Becker, he returns to the Duke City following an 18-game stint with the ‘Topes earlier in the season. He batted .297 in that period for Albuquerque.
Infielder Charlie Mirabal has been moved to the roster for Rookie-Level Ogden.
June 20 Game Notes
Iowa Cubs (31-39) at Albuquerque Isotopes (40-30)
IOWA- RHP Ramon Ortiz (5-2, 4.48 ERA)
ALB- LHP Dana Eveland (6-4, 3.87 ERA)
Click here for 6-20-11_Notes
June 19 Game Notes
Iowa Cubs (30-39) at Albuquerque Isotopes (40-29)
IOWA- RHP Alberto Cabrera (1-2, 10.13 ERA)
ALB- RHP Ian Snell (0-0, 9.00 ERA)
Click here for 6-19-11_Notes
June 18 Game Notes
Iowa Cubs (30-38) at Albuquerque Isotopes (39-29)
IOWA- RHP Austin Biben-Dirkx (3-3, 6.79 ERA)
ALB- RHP Tim Sexton (3-0, 3.25 ERA)
Click here for 6-18-11_Notes
June 17 Game Notes
Iowa Cubs (30-37) at Albuquerque Isotopes (37-29)
IOWA- RHP Jay Jackson (2-6, 6.31 ERA)
ALB- RHP John Ely (2-3, 5.74 ERA)
Click here for 6-17-11_Notes
June 16 Game Notes
Albuquerque Isotopes (37-29) at Oklahoma City RedHawks (29-38)
ALB- LHP Randy Keisler (2-2, 4.85 ERA)
OKC- RHP Sergio Perez (4-4, 4.17 ERA)
Click here for 6-16-11_Notes
June 15 Game Notes
Albuquerque Isotopes (37-28) at Oklahoma City RedHawks (28-38)
ALB- LHP Dana Eveland (6-3, 3.95 ERA)
OKC- LHP Andy Van Hekken (0-3, 4.09 ERA)
Click here for 6-15-11_Notes
June 14 Game Notes
Albuquerque Isotopes (37-26) at Oklahoma City RedHawks (26-38)
ALB- RHP Tim Redding (2-6, 6.82)
OKC- LHP Douglas Arguello (2-5, 3.72)
ALB- RHP Joe Newby (0-1, 3.00 ERA)
OKC- RHP Nelson Figueroa (3-2, 5.22 ERA)
Click here for 6-14-11_Notes