Josh Towers Sparks Albuquerque Win

The Isotopes scored four runs in the first and six runs in the fourth, helped by Xavier Paul's first home run, and went on to top New Orleans 14-8, winning their first home game of the season. Chattanooga lost 7-4 to Huntsville despite Dee Gordon's four hits. Inland Empire lost 4-3 to High Desert, and Great Lakes lost 4-3 on a late-inning rally by Lansing.

Big Innings Boosts Albuquerque

The Isotopes broke open a close game with four runs in the first and six runs in the fourth, then went on to top New Orleans 14-8. In doing so the won their first game of the season at home.

Third baseman Russ Mitchell's two-out, two-run triple keyed the first inning attack and they sent 11 men to the plate in the fourth inning to turn a 5-4 lead into an 11-4 margin.

Albuquerque rapped out 16 hits, four including a double and a home run and three runs batted in by outfielder Xavier Paul (#1) who is now hitting .348. Prentice Redman, catcher J.D. Closser and winning pitcher Josh Towers, who doubled and knocked in a run, all finished with a pair of hits. Mitchell and Redman also had three RBI.

Towers (1-0) worked six innings and allowed seven hit, five earned, and struck out four. Brent Leach was hit hard again, allowing three runs in just 1.2 innings, and Luis Ayala closed out the eighth and then worked a scoreless ninth.

The win ties the Isotopes with New Orleans for first place in the American South Division, each with a 3-2 record.

Lookouts Lose Another Tough Game Chattanooga fell behind the the fourth inning and then fought back to within a run, only to lose 7-4 to Huntsville.

Starter Jesus Castillo (0-1) worked five outstanding innings, allowing three hits and striking out five but gave up two unearned runs. Matt Sartor was also tagged with an unearned run. Eric Krebs and Javy Guerra finished up.

Second baseman Jaime Pedroza's error and a triple resulted in a run in the fourth and an error by shortstop Dee Gordon cost another unearned run in the fifth. Pedroza's second error cost in the sixth allowed another.

Chattanooga scored for the first time in the fifth when third baseman Corey Smith doubled and Gordon beat out a bunt. Pinch-hitter Elian Herrera's sacrifice fly scored Smith.

Huntsville added a pair of runs off Leach in the seventh but the Lookouts scored one in the bottom of the inning when Smith and Gordon switched rolls: Smit singled and Gordon doubled. Herrera' ground ball earned him a second RBI.

The final Chattanooga runs crossed the plate in the eighth. Outfielder Andrew Lambo doubled and with two out, outfielder Scott Van Slyke singled him across. Smith walked and Gordon's fourth hit, a double, made it 5-4.

Gordon was stranded in the eighth and the Lookouts went down in order in the ninth.

Gordon, LADugout's #1 prospect, boosted his average to .462 with a 4-for-4 performance, three of them doubles. Eduardo Perez and Smith each had a pair of hits.

Four Early Runs Top 66ers

Inland Empire could not overcome an early 4-0 attack by High Desert, although they fought back to score twice in the ninth to cut the deficit to one and leave two runners on base.

Bobby Blevins (0-1) stared and worked six innings, allowing nine hits and all our runs. He struck out eight. Miguel Sanfler pitched a scoreless seventh and converted catcher Kenley Jansen added two near-perfect innings, marred only by a walk, and struck out three.

In his first two appearances, both in relief, for the Sixty-Sixers the 6-6 right-hander has allowed a single hit and no runs while striking out seven in four innings.

Outfielder Kyle Russell put the 66ers on the board in the fourth when he tripled to dead center field and scored on first baseman Steven Caseres' sacrifice fly.

Trailing 4-1 in the ninth, second baseman Cesar Suarez singled and outfielder Alfredo Silverio doubled. With one out, catcher Tony Delmonico lived on an error as Suarez scored. Caseres' single make it 4-3 to put runners at first and third but shortstop Chris Gutierrez and designated hitter Preston Mattingly struck out to end the game.

Silverio and Russell (who is hitting .400), had a pair of hits each.

After five games, Inland Empire is 3-2 and tied for first place with High Desert.

Great Lakes Drops a Close One 4-3

Chris Mundhenk
Great Lakes Loons

Despite having two more hits than Lansing, the Loons were unable to hold onto a three-run lead Monday night and allowed the Lugnuts to make another late-inning rally to win, 4-3.

Lansing's first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor paved the way offensively for the Lugnuts, going five-for-five, and supplied a solo-homer in the eighth that tied the game at three runs apiece. Balbino finished a triple shy of the cycle. Later in the inning, Chris Hopkins' double up the third base line brought in pinch runner Eric Eiland from second base for what proved to be the winning run.

"We got 12 hits, but we struck out a lot," Loons Manager Juan Bustabad said. "We didn't put the ball in play when we had to, and didn't execute defensively."

Loons starting pitcher Elisaul Pimintel had an impressive opening to Monday's game, fanning four of the Lugnuts first five batters and did not let in a run until the fifth inning. "He pitched great you know, pitched four scoreless innings," Bustabad said of his starter "He pitched well enough to win the game, leaving the game up 3-2."

Pimentel gave up two runs in his final inning, when shortstop Kevin Nolan hit a ground-ball double up the third base line to bring the Lugnuts within one. The Loons starter finished with seven strikeouts and three walks to begin the season with a 3.60 ERA.

Left-handed reliever Jordan Roberts came in to relieve Pimentel, allowing two runs in 2.1 innings, and was tagged with the loss and blown save. Steve Smith closed out the game's final 1.2 innings by allowing two hits and no runs.

Offensively, Jerry Sands went four-for-five for the Loons, netting a pair of singles and doubles for one RBI on the night.

With the bases loaded in the fourth, Brian Cavazos-Galvez helped extend the Loons lead with a two-run single that deflected off Lansing shortstop Kevin Nolan. Galvez's second hit of the night put the Loons up 3-0.

Cavazos-Galvez also helped in the outfield, saving a run in the second with one out and two Lansing runners in scoring position. Lugnut Jon Talley hit a fly ball to Cavazos-Galvez in right-center field, who made the catch for out two and then made a great throw to third that beat base runner Mark Sobolewski for the double-play.

Lansing closer Steve Turnbull earned the save for the second night in a row, after retiring three of the four Loons batters he faced in the ninth. The Loons will conclude their first series with Lansing Tuesday night. Right-handed pitcher Josh Wall (0-0, 11.25) will throw out the first pitch at 6:05 p.m. for the Loons, while Ryan Shopshire (0-0, 7.20) gets the nod for Lansing.