The Albuquerque Isotopes had their chances but could not come up with the big hit when they needed it most Thursday night.
Albuquerque left 10 men on base over the last five innings of an 8-3 loss to the Reno Aces at Isotopes Park.
The game was tied 3-3 going into the ninth but the usually reliable Steve Ames (1-1) was not at his best. He walked Matt Davidson after being ahead 0-2 in the count and then gave up a single to Alfredo Marte.
Pinch hitter Evan Frey laid down a sacrifice bunt that Ames fielded. The pitcher bobbled the ball for an error, leaving the bases loaded. Tyler Kuhn capitalized with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3.
Tuffy Gosewisch then broke the game open with a towering three-run homer into the picnic area beyond left field.
Ames’ ERA jumped from 0.69 (one earned run in 13 innings) to 2.63 (four earned runs in 13.2 innings).
“Amesie has been pitching good but honestly the leadoff hitter has been trouble for him,” manager Lorenzo Bundy said. “He’s found a way to pitch his way out of those jams. But tonight he wasn’t able to do it. He left the ball up in the zone.”
The Isotopes (20-20) had rallied from 3-0 down in the sixth inning as Tony Gwynn Jr. and Elian Herrera hit back-to-back one-out singles. Alex Castellanos, who was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, stepped in and delivered a two-run double to left-center.
After Jeremy Moore struck out, Rusty Ryal smashed a broken-bat single up the middle that scored Castellanos.
“I was kind of pleased with his at-bats,” Bundy said of Castellanos. “I thought he was OK. He had some good at-bats even though he struck out three times.”
Castellanos was back in right field, where he has played the majority of this season, though that move now leaves the Isotopes with five outfielders who all need playing time. Castellanos played third base and second base last season.
“Alex is going to stay in the outfield,” Bundy said. “In an emergency, we would be able to throw Alex back into the infield. I don’t see him starting a game in the infield.”
Starter Blake Johnson had a fairly solid effort for Albuquerque, allowing three runs on six hits and one walk over six innings. The right-hander struck out eight batters and threw 65 of 96 pitches for strikes.
“Blake was pretty good,” Bundy said. “He threw the ball well. I thought he was very competitive. He was really aggressive.”
The Isotopes will try to rebound Friday at 7:05 p.m.
- To make room for Castellanos on the roster, infielder Ozzie Martinez was sent to Double-A Chattanooga. Martinez hit .231 (9-for-39) with four RBI in 12 games for Albuquerque this season.
- In his first game in Albuquerque, left fielder Jeremy Moore went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Moore joined the team while it was on the road after missing time due to soreness in his surgically repaired hip that cost him all of the 2012 season.