The Albuquerque Isotopes struck for three runs in the sixth inning to rally for a 3-2 victory over the visiting Reno Aces in Game 2 of a doubleheader Friday night. Albuquerque also won the opener 3-2.
“The first game was a great ballgame,” manager Damon Berryhill said. “Both clubs pitched well. … Both of those games were big wins for us.”
This time around the Isotopes (37-44) trailed 1-0 until Erisbel Arruebarrena, whose 12-game hitting streak ended in the first game, smoked a leadoff triple to right-center. The relay throw to third base sailed into the dugout, enabling Arruebarrena to score the tying run on an error.
Two batters later, Trayvon Robinson singled up the middle and then stole second base. The Aces (44-38) brought in reliever Derek Eitel, who promptly walked Mike Baxter and Johnny Monell to load the bases.
Eitel walked Griff Erickson to force in Robinson as the go-ahead run. Brian Cavazos-Galvez, whose walkoff home run won the opening game, then followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in an insurance run.
Albuquerque had to hold on for dear life in the seventh inning. Jose Dominguez came in threw two quick strikes before tossing four straight balls to walk Mike Jacobs.
Argenis Diaz singled, Bobby Wilson struck out and pinch hitter Blake Lalli singled to load the bases. Nick Ahmed followed with an RBI single, but Tony Campana, pinch running for Lalli, was caught in a rundown between second and third for the second out.
Dominguez then managed to strike out Aaron Cunningham to earn his fifth save of the season. It was far from pretty, but it was a save nonetheless.
“He’s had a few games off and came out and looked a little rusty today,” Berryhill said. “He’s kind of been up an down all during the season. Fortunately he got the big punchout at the right time. They helped us out with that baserunning mistake, but we’ll take it.”
Stephen Fife (2-2), who was just activated off the disabled list, was close to brilliant for the Isotopes. He allowed just one run on five hits and one walk while striking out two in six innings.
Fife got out of two major jams only giving up the one run. In the first inning, Nick Ahmed and Aaron Cunningham hit back to-back doubles to start the game and make it 1-0. The right-hander walked Danny Dorn with one out, but he came back to strike out Andy Marte and get Mike Jacobs to fly out to left field.
In the third inning, Reno loaded the bases on a single, double and hit by pitch with no outs. Fife struck out Dorn and then got Marte to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.
“He pitched well and we played really solid defense behind him,” Berryhill said. “He made the pitches when he had to, to get himself out of jams. We made great plays to get him out of jams.”
The best defensive play came in the second inning when center fielder Robinson made a leaping, no-look, over-the-shoulder catch to rob Bobby Wilson of an extra-base hit. Berryhill called the catch “maybe in the top 10 I’ve ever seen.”
Nick Ahmed went 4-for-4 in a losing cause for Reno. Michael Lee (0-1), who was just promoted from Double-A Mobile, took the loss as he allowed two runs in 5.1 innings.
The Isotopes and Aces will continue their series Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Jeff Bennett (4-2, 3.70 ERA) will start for Albuquerque against Reno left-hander Andrew Chafin (1-2, 7.01).