The Albuquerque Isotopes coughed up a late lead but were able to rebound in 11 innings for a 3-2 victory over the host Memphis Redbirds on Wednesday night.
Albuquerque (70-69) moved back over .500 while pushing Memphis (73-65) to the brink of playoff elimination. The Redbirds’ loss, combined with Omaha’s 12-2 win over Round Rock, reduced the Storm Chasers’ magic number to one.
Omaha needs just one more win in the last five games of the season or one more loss by Memphis to clinch the American North Division and a playoff spot opposite the Express.
It all adds up to poetic justice for the Isotopes, who were eliminated from the postseason chase with an 8-1 loss to the Redbirds on Aug. 23 at Isotopes Park.
This time around Albuquerque used a solid pitching performance from Randy Keisler to hold Memphis in check for seven innings.
Keisler tossed six scoreless frames, allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out four.
Kyle Russell’s RBI triple in the second inning and Tim Federowicz’s leadoff home run in the fifth staked the Isotopes to a 2-0 lead.
Things came undone in the eighth as Travis Schlichting struggled, giving up a double to Freddie Bynum, walking Mark Hamilton and hitting Tyler Greene with a pitch. With the bases loaded and two outs, Albuquerque turned to Jon Link, who gave up a two-run single to pinch hitter Matt Carpenter that tied the game.
The Isotopes had a chance to win in the ninth when they put two on with one out, but Russell and Ivan Ochoa both struck out.
In the 11th, Jerry Sands and Jamie Hoffmann hit back-to-back one-out singles to put runners at the corners. Federowicz followed with a sacrifice fly to score Sands.
Roy Corcoran (1-1) retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning to earn the victory in relief.
Sands was 3-for-4 with two runs and a stolen base to lead Albuquerque at the plate.
The Isotopes will finish their series at Memphis on Thursday at 6:05 p.m.
- The Dodgers will recall left-hander Dana Eveland, the Isotopes’ pitcher of the year, to start Thursday’s makeup game in Pittsburgh. Eveland’s last major-league appearance came with the Pirates last season. He won 12 games this season and was named the All-Pacific Coast League team. The Dodgers are also expected to call up an infielder, with Russ Mitchell the likely candidate, according to ESPNLA.com’s Tony Jackson. As Thursday is the first day rosters can expand, they will not have to send down another player, and the Dodgers currently have an opening on the 40-man roster after releasing catcher Dioner Navarro.
- The Dodgers’ rookie team in the Arizona League defeated the Giants’ squad 4-2 to capture the league championship on Wednesday. Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and rookie-level Ogden have also clinched playoff spots among Dodgers affiliates, while Double-A Chattanooga is tied for first place in its division. Only the Isotopes and Single-A Great Lakes will miss the postseason.