Isotopes steal game one

Javier Cortez, Sports Editor

Coming off a thrilling series against the Tacoma Rainiers, the Chihuahuas found themselves in another dog fight, this time against the Albuquerque Isotopes. A late game push by the Isotopes gave them an 8-6 win to open the four game series.

It was a back and forth game that saw neither team take control, right down to the end it was up for grabs. When the Chihuahuas scored twice in the second inning, the Isotopes came right back with two runs of their own in the third inning.

Starting pitcher Jason Lane was solid all night for the Chihuahuas going 6 2/3 innings, only giving up three earned runs on seven hits to go along with a season high 10 strikeouts.

“My stuff felt really good,” said Lane. “I just made a couple of mistakes, missed a couple spots and they made me pay. I felt good so it’s frustrating not being able to turn the corner and finish a good day off.”

Solid most of the night Lane ran into trouble in the top of the third, the Isotopes had the bases loaded with one out. But Lane immediately stopped the bleeding only allowing one run with bases loaded.

The Chihuahuas seemed to have took control of the game in the sixth inning, with three runs to put them ahead 5-3. The lead was short lived though, once starting pitcher Jason Lane came out of the game.

Disappointed by a close loss, Lane sees the positives from his best start all year and will go from there.

“There are some positives but there are still things I need to get better at,” said Lane. “I’ll take the good and try to build off of that.”

The Chihuahua’s bullpen ultimately failed them as the last two relief pitchers surrendered four runs and four hits in the last two innings to give the Isotopes game one.

“We have a lot of confidence in those guys,” said catcher Rocky Gale. “I stand behind the pitches they made. They pitched very well, they just didn’t get the results we wanted from the pitches that we had. It just didn’t work out.”

6,516 El Pasoans almost saw the Chihuahuas come back and steal game one. First baseman Brooks Conrad was the first Chihuahua up to bat in the ninth and reinserted life back into the Chihuahuas and the home crowd.

Down in the count Conrad hit a 384-foot home run that would have gone out of the ball park if it didn’t hit the right field seating structure. Conrad saw the fastball and took it to cut the Isotopes lead to two.

Conrad’s ninth inning home run was his 18th on the season which puts him one behind center fielder Alex Castellanos, Conrad leads the team with 65 RBI’s. After Conrad the Chihuahuas went three up three down.

Along with clutch hitting in the ninth Conrad played his first game of the season at first base, adjusting has been nothing new for Conrad as he has now played all four infield positions this season.

The Chihuahuas are now 40-45 on the season and 3-5 against the Isotopes on the season after winning three straight against them. Overall the Chihuahuas have struggled mightily against National League affiliates—the loss tonight puts the Chihuahuas at 17-32 against NL affiliates as appose to their 23-13 record against American League Affiliates.

The Chihuahuas are back in action tomorrow night against Albuquerque at 7:05 here at Southwest University Park.