Topes Notes 08-07-12

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Isotopes’ pitching gets walloped Monday vs. Tucson

The Albuquerque Isotopes don’t seem to be having much trouble scoring against the Tucson Padres during their current series, but stopping the Padres from scoring has been an issue.
The Isotopes have scored 19 runs in the first two games of the series, but Tucson has won both contests. The Padres won Sunday’s series opener 10-8, then followed that up with a 14-11 victory Monday.
To finish up its current homestand with at least a .500 mark, the Isotopes must win both tonight and Wednesday. They split their four-game set with Las Vegas just prior to the Tucson series.
Monday’s game featured some big innings on both sides. The Isotopes scored eight runs in the bottom of the fifth, which gave them a seemingly-commanding 10-2 lead, but the Padres pushed five runs across in the top of the sixth and exploded for seven runs in the top of the eighth.
Albuquerque starting pitcher Blake Johnson started the contest off well before being tagged for three of Tucson’s sixth inning runs. From there, however, things started to deteriorate for the Albuquerque pitching staff.
Of the six pitchers Albuquerque used in the game, only Ramon Troncoso wasn’t hit up for at least one run – Troncoso only pitched 1/3 of an inning. Scott Rice (0-3) was tagged with the loss, walking three straight batters to force home runs in the eighth while failing to record an out.
In the fifth, Albuquerque (66-51) got a run-scoring triple from Elian Herrera, along with two doubles from Tyler Henson and a double from Scott Van Slyke. Johnson singled in a pair of runs in his second at-bat of the inning.
To get Tucson’s comeback rally started, however, Jeremy Hermida hit a three-run home run in the sixth. The blast came off Luis Vasquez, who had just come on to replace Johnson.
Despite Albuquerque’s struggles – it is currently 2-4 on this homestand after losing two straight on the road to Nashville – the Isotopes have actually gained a bit of ground on the second-place Oklahoma City RedHawks in the PCL American Southern division.
The RedHawks (63-53) are currently in the worst funk of their season, having dropped eight of nine contests since July 29.

Sands moves up to the Bigs

After posting one of the best offensive stretches of his pro career, Isotopes first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands has been promoted to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Sands hit safely in his previous 10 games, batting .476 with six home runs during that time. Since the PCL’s All-Star break, Sands is leading the PCL in slugging percentage (.733) and is tied for first with 28 RBI.
On July 29, Sands made Minor League history with a multi-grand slam night. For his efforts in late July, Sands was named PCL Player of the Week.
This call-up marks Sands’ second stint with the parent team. He was up with Los Angeles in May for eight games, hitting two doubles during that time.
Overall, Sands has appeared in 69 Major League games since being drafted in 2008.
To make room on their roster for the addition of Sands, the Dodgers designated outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. for assignment.