Isotopes Stop Late Rally by Chihuahuas

EL PASO - In front of a decent Wednesday night crowd, the Albuquerque Isotopes took the home opener from the Chihuahuas 6-4 despite having the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

Colin Rea, who has been one of the Padres’ better pitchers in the system this season, opened the game but was on a 60 pitch limit because of his upcoming appearance in the Futures Game.

“He pitched much better tonight than he did in his first start,” said Chihuahuas’ manager Jamie Quirk after the game. “I was with Colin earlier in the season at [Double-A] San Antonio and at [High-A] Lake Elsinore last year and he has really improved.”

“He struggled a little bit in the first inning when he hung a curve for a home run, but I just told him it was a bad pitch and keep using your full arsenal of pitches and he was fine.”

“He could have easily gone more innings, but we want to make sure he is fresh for the Futures Game.”

Rea went three innings, and other than the solo home run, only gave up one other hit and held Albuquerque scoreless.

After the Isotopes too a 1-0 lead the Chihuahuas bounced back on first baseman Jake Goebbert’s two run triple with a pair of outs. Unfortunately, for El Paso the wheels came off in the fifth as they gave up four runs in the fifth; which was assisted by a pair of errors by catcher Jason Hagerty and third baseman Cody Decker.

“The errors are going to happen but what we need to convey to our players is what separates players from the major leagues and the minors is the ability to mentally focus,” said Quirk.

“It’s a long season and a grind, but everyone is also in the same boat. You have to push through it.”

In the ninth inning the Chihuahuas put the first four batters of the inning on, but could only squeeze out one run as both left fielder Alex Dickerson and Decker, who have been their most productive hitters this year, struck out to end the game.

El Paso is now 43 and 43 on the season.

Notes: A tough night for Cody Decker with four strikeouts and a pair of errors...After struggling at the plate in San Antonio with a .212 batting average, Jason Hagerty is hitting .290 with El Paso...After going 2-2 tonight Jake Goebbert pushed his season slash line to .290/.403/.430.

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