Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano came to Albuquerque on Wednesday night to prove he was fully recovered from the left calf strain that landed him on the disabled list.
He did that and more, throwing 5.1 effective innings in the Isotopes’ 6-4 victory over the visiting Memphis Redbirds in 10 innings.
Tim Federowicz blasted a walkoff, two-run homer off Jorge Rondon (1-3) in the 10th to give Albuquerque (15-11) its third straight win over Memphis (13-12).
“It was a fastball, that’s his pitch, he throws hard and I knew he was going to try to overpower me,” Federowicz said. “After I got the first pitch slider I was like, all right, here it comes. He gave me a good one to hit.”
Capuano allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk. He struck out four and threw 53 of 76 pitches for strikes. Capuano credited his catcher for much of his success.
“I really like throwing to Tim, we’ve developed a good report throwing together in spring training,” Capuano said. “He knows me and knows my strengths so that made it a lot easier on me.”
Capuano impressed Isotopes manager Lorenzo Bundy, who has known him since he was in the Diamondbacks’ farm system a decade ago.
“I thought he did a nice job, had a good tempo, used all his pitches,” Bundy said.
The Dodgers did not officially say Capuano was ready to return to Los Angeles after the game, but Capuano said he is good to go.
“I feel like I’m ready,” he said. “The good thing about this calf injury was the last two weeks I’ve been able to throw with no problems. I’ve been able to long toss. I’ve been able to do my bullpens. I had a simulated game Saturday at Dodger Stadium. It’s great that I’ve been able to keep my arm strength through this process.”
There were two plays that might have caused the Isotopes and Dodgers to wince, but Capuano came out fine both times. The first came when he dove off the mound to drive and snag a squib hit by Kolten Wong in the first inning. The second came when Capuano knocked down Chad Huffman’s comebacker with his bare hand in the third inning.
As far as Capuano was concerned, all the physical plays helped him show that his strained left calf muscle has healed.
“From the very first inning I really tested my calf,” he said. “Coming off the mound to try to get that ball. I had to cover first a bunch. From that standpoint, body feels great and I feel it’s a good rehab start.”
Capuano left the game with a runner on first and the Isotopes leading 3-1, but Anthony Ortega promptly walked the first batter he faced, then gave up an RBI single, hit a batter and gave up a two-run single that suddenly put Memphis ahead 4-3.
Albuquerque tied it up in the sixth as Scott Van Slyke drew a leadoff walk and Federowicz followed with his second RBI double of the game.
“It’s basically that he’s about as hot as Van Slyke was earlier in the year,” Bundy said of Federowicz. “What’s encouraging is that he’s not pull-happy, he’s gap-to-gap right now. He’s locked in pretty darned good.”
Federowicz finished the game 3-for-4 and drove in four runs.
“Like I said, I’m not trying to take any at-bats off,” he said. “Actually, I did take one at-bat off and I struck out (in the third inning) so that’s what I get. After that I was a little (ticked) off and I went out there and made sure I didn’t give it away.”
Peter Moylan (2-0) earned the victory with two scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit while striking out three batters. He also had something important to say about Federowicz after the game.
“I told him I didn’t want to throw a third inning and he told me he was going to finish it for me and he did,” Moylan said with a smile while patting his catcher on the back.
The Isotopes and Redbirds will wrap up their series Thursday at 6:35 p.m.