'Topes Lose, Loons Win in First Round

Albuquerque dropped a 6-2 decision to Memphis in the Northern Conference Finals and finds themselves in a must-win situation. Great Lakes, behind the spectacular pitching of rookie Andrew Miller, smothered West Michigan 7-2 and needs one more win to move into the Midwest League final round.

Memphis Shocks 'Topes
Memphis demonstrated that the playoffs are a completely different season by slugging Albuquerque 6-2 in the first game of the best of five Northern Conferences finals of Pacific Coast League playoffs.

The game was delayed over two hours by rain in he bottom of the sixth inning.

The Isotopes took three of five games from the Redbirds late in the regular season and finished 10-6 against Memphis and 6-2 in Albuquerque.

So much for history.

This night, the RedHawks pitching staff retired the first 13 Albuquerque batters before Jamie Hoffmann beat out an infield hit. Memphis had scored four times off starter Eric Stults by this time.

The Birds whacked Stults for another run in the fifth before the Isotopes finally got on the scoreboard.

Before the rain delayed the game, the Isotopes pulled off a spectacular triple play. Brian Barden had walked and Mark Shorey singled to open the inning.

Chin-Lung Hu Starts Triple Play

Then Matt Pagnozzi hit a ground ball to shortstop Chin-lung Hu who stepped on the bag and fired to first baseman Hector Luna for the second out. Luna's throw to Blake DeWitt nailed Barden attempting to go to third.

If the rare triple-killing inspired the Isotopes, the long rain delay seems to have erased the adrenalin surge except for a brief blip in the bottom of the sixth.

Tony Abreu, who is perhaps playing in the Dodgers minor league system for the final time pending a decision by Arizona to select him as the player to be named later in the Jon Garland trade, tripled with one out in the to drive in JD Closser who had lived on an error.

Hector Luna singled Abreu across with the third, and final, hit of the even for Albuquerque. Hoffmann's walk in the seventh became their final baserunner.

Dwayne Pollok gave up a solo home run in the eighth and Hyang-Nam Choi worked a scoreless ninth.

Tonight, RHP Tim Corcoran (2-0, 4.71) will face LHP Evan MacLane (8-11, 4.02) for Memphis in a crucial game. After tonight, the playoffs shift to Memphis for the final three games.

 Score by Innings
Memphis	        220 010 010-6
Albuquerque	000 002 000-2

 Albuquerque	ab r  h  bi  ave
Abreu 2b	4  1  1  1  .250
Paul cf        	4  0  0  0  .000
Luna 1b        	4  0  1  1  .250
Jones lf	4  0  0  0  .000
Hoffmann rf	3  0  1  0  .333
DeWitt 3b	3  0  0  0  .000
Hu ss        	3  0  0  0  .000
Closser c	3  1  0  0  .000
Stults p	1  0  0  0  .000
 SGarcia ph	1  0  0  0  .000
 Pollok p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Maza ph	1  0  0  0  .000
 Choi p	        0  0  0  0  .000
---------------------------------
 Totals 	31  2  3  2
 Memphis	34  6 12  6
 3B- Abreu (1). RBI- Abreu (1), Luna (1).
LOB- Albuquerque 3, Memphis 2. SB- Luna
(1), Hu (1). DP- Hu, Abreu and Luna. 
TP- Hu and Luna. Pickoff- Stults. 
 	  
 Albuquerque	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Stults (0-1)	6.0 11  5-5  1  2   7.50
Pollok	        2.0  1  1-1  0  2  4.50
Choi        	1.0  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
 T- 2:33 (2:21 delay). Att- 3,660.
Loons Playoff Debut Smash Hit
Brad Golder
Great Lakes Loons>/b>
Aaron Miller dazzled on the mound, throwing six shutout innings with a career-high nine strikeouts, and the Great Lakes Loons offense rocked West Michigan Whitecaps starter Casey Crosby in a 7-2 win in the first Midwest League playoff game in Loons franchise history.

A crowd of 4,801 at Dow Diamond saw the Loons take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three first round series.  

Crosby, the No. 3 prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization according to Baseball America, struggled in his first start since August 18, allowing five runs on six hits with a pair of walks. He lasted only 2.1 innings, getting chased from the game after a two-run single by Jerry Sands made it a 5-0 Loons lead in the bottom of the third.  

Anthony Hatch and Alfredo Silverio also had run-scoring singles in the third, as all nine Loons batted in the frame.  

Joe Becker gave the Loons a 1-0 lead with a big two-out single in the bottom of the second inning. After Kyle Russell led off with a triple, Crosby got Silverio to fly to shallow right field and Sands to pop out to second, but was unable to escape the frame thanks to Becker's clutch hit.  

Great Lakes tacked on single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to extend their advantage. Dee Gordon delivered a sacrifice fly to score one in the sixth, and Kyle Russell led off the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run.

  Miller, the Dodgers #1 selection in the 2009 draft, held the Whitecaps hitless for the first 4.2 innings of the game, giving him 10.2 consecutive hitless innings at Dow Diamond going back to his last home start against Fort Wayne on Aug. 27 (6 IP, 0 H).

He allowed only two hits over his six innings of work. Geison Aguasviva pitched two scoreless relief innings behind Miller. Robert Boothe pitched the ninth, allowing a pair of unearned runs.

  Russell finished 2-for-3 with a homer, a triple, a walk, an RBI and three runs scored, while Becker went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Every Loons starter had a hit and six players drove in a run to pace a balanced offensive attack.

The Loons and Whitecaps head across the state to Comstock Park for tonight's Game Two at Fifth Third Ballpark. Great Lakes hands the ball to the Midwest League co-leader in wins, Jon Michael Redding (16-3, 4.60), to try and close out the series. Left-hander Adam Wilk (2-1, 1.49) starts for the Whitecaps in a must-win situation.

 Score by Innings
West Michigan	000 000 002-2
Great Lakes	014 001 10x-7

 Great Lakes 	ab r  h  bi ave
Gordon ss	4  1  2  1  .500
Pedroza 2b	4  1  1  0  .250
Hatch 3b	4  1  1  1  .250
Russell rf	3  3  2  1  .667
Silverio lf	4  0  1  2  .250
Sands 1b	4  0  1  2  .250
Becker dh	4  0  2  1  .500
Wallach c	4  1  1  0  .250
Buss cf        	4  0  1  0  .250
---------------------------------
 Totals	        35  7 12  6
 West Michigan	29  2  3  2

 Error- Russell (1). 2B- Wallach 1,Becker
(1). 3B- Russell (1). HR- Russell (1).
Becker (1), Hatch (1), Silverio (1),
Sands 2 (2), Gordon (1), Russell (1).
SF- Gordon. LOB- Great Lakes 7, West
Michigan 8. SB- Gordon (1). 

 Great Lakes	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Miller (1-0)	6.0  2  0-0  2  9  0.00
Aguasviva	2.0  0  0-0  1  1  0.00
Boothe	        1.0  1  2-0  1  1  0.00
 HBP- by Aguasviva. T- 2:40. Att- 4,801.

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