The Albuquerque Isotopes lost a nailbiter 2-1 in 10 innings against the host New Orleans Zephyrs on Saturday night.
Albuquerque (56-52) remained seven games behind first-place Round Rock (63-45) in the American South Division after the Express lost 3-2 at Nashville.
The Isotopes held a 1-0 lead through seven innings on the strength of Jerry Sands’ solo home run in the fifth. The Zephyrs (53-55) rallied in the eighth.
With one out, Brad Davis singled to right field. Two batters later, Jorge Padilla doubled to center, while Davis had to hold at third base.
Travis Schlichting intentionally walked Joe Thurston to load the bases. Jose Lopez then came up and grounded to third base, where Russ Mitchell made a diving stop. His throw to Sands at first base was just off enough to pull Sands’ foot off the bag, enabling Lopez to reach safely and Davis to score the tying run.
The game went to the 10th inning, where Mike Cervenak led off with a double to center field off Joe Newby (1-5). Padilla came up and laid down a sacrifice bunt that Newby fielded cleanly, only the pitcher’s throw to first base ended up sailing into right field as Cervenak came around to score the winning run.
Newby took the loss, erasing the memory of Tim Sexton’s best start in months. Sexton allwed just two hits and two walks while striking out three in six shutout innings.
Jose Ceda (3-1) earned the victory with two scoreless innings of relief. He struck out four.
Jamie Hoffmann went 2-for-4 with a double, the only Albuquerque player with multiple hits.
The Isotopes will aim to rebound against the Zephyrs on Sunday at 5 p.m.