Topes Can't Get No Relief, Fall 10-7

Poor relief pitching plagued the Albuquerque Isotopes against the Fresno Grizzlies on Wednesday night.

The Isotopes were up 3-1 entering the top of the fifth inning, when Fernando Nieve came on for starter Mike Parisi, who in four innings of work gave up one earned run on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk. The start was Parisi's first since May 7 against the Nashville Sounder and he missed two weeks of action due to a right shoulder impingement suffered during that outing.

Head coach Lorenzo Bundy said Nieve was supposed to start the game instead of Parisi, but didn't because he wanted to work Parisi back into the rotation.

"It was originally his start we needed some innings out of him," Bundy said. "We weren't getting any innings out of him as a starter. He needs to pitch right now he's not pitching he's throwing."

The turning point of the game happened when Nieve conceded a grand slam in the fifth inning to Fresno left fielder Roger Kieshnick to make the score 6-3 Grizzlies. Nieve threw three innings surrendered seven runs, allowed 10 hits, walked one and stuck one out.

Albuquerque (27-20) produced enough runs to keep within distance of the Grizzlies (31-15) and in the top of the eighth the score was 8-5. Once again the bullpen was not able to shutdown Fresno as reliever Derrick Loop gave up two more runs in the eighth to push the Grizzlies lead to 10-5.

Right fielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez tripled to start the bottom of the eighth and scored when center fielder Matt Angle grounded out to the second baseman to cut Fresno's lead to 10-6.

The Isotopes weren't able to get another runner across in the eighth, but after a scoreless top of the ninth by the Grizzlies, Albuquerque still had a shot in the bottom of the inning.

Outfielder Trent Oeltjen walked to start the inning and recorded a run when second baseman Aaron Miles tripled to right-center field to cut the Fresno lead to three. The next two batters stuck out for Albuquerque and it was up to Cavazos-Galvez to be the hero.

Cavazos-Galvez had a chance as he hit a sure double to an opening into deep center field, but Fresno center fielder Justin Christian made a miraculous catch to rob Cavazos-Galvez. The snag ended the rally and the Grizzlies dropped the Isotopes 10-7.

Los Angeles Dodger's utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. made his first of two rehab starts for the Isotopes. Hairston started in left field, went 0-3 at the plate and left after five innings of work.

Bundy said he thought Hairston looked fine in his first rehab start, and thinks he's about a hundred percent healthy.

"I was really impressed with the way he went down the line. I talked to him about his AB after that first ground ball, and he had a little smile on his face," Bundy said, "I think personally, on the inside, it helps his confidence to know he's almost there or pretty darn close."

Albuquerque shortstop Luis Cruz hit two more doubles in the game for a grand total of 20 on the year. Cruz has had six doubles in the first three games of the series against Fresno.