Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson


Circus Comes to NM!
August 7, 2012, 17:36
Filed under: Uncategorized

It was really funny to read the account of last night’s game in today’s paper.  The blurb there, compiled from press releases, made it sound like just another ho-hum day at the ballpark…nothing could be further from the truth!  Weird and wild were in the air in Albuquerque last night as the Tucson Padres and Isotopes battled to win the game.  It sure didn’t start that way.  In fact, in the early innings, the game progressed at a rather stately pace.  After Tucson led off the game with two quick runs (Daniel Robertson scored on Jedd Gyorko’s RBI double, then Jedd scored on Matt Clark’s RBI single), Tucson’s starter, Bear Bay, seemed in control, even though he allowed one Tope run in the bottom of the second.  In the fourth, though, he allowed his first walk of the game – and that batter eventually scored…something just felt different.  Bear’s control was beginning to slip.  That’s what I felt at the time…and my gut feeling was confirmed when the Isotopes exploded with an EIGHT-RUN fifth inning that chased Bear from the game.  It wasn’t all on Bear – our defense gave up back-to-back errors – but he really just couldn’t get the second out in the inning.  Hit after hit after hit (and a walk)…run after run after run…  Twelve Isotopes came to the plate by the time all the damage was done.  New reliever, Alexis Lara, finished off the inning, getting the final two outs and allowing one run in on his line.  Suddenly a game that had been tied two to two was now 10 to 2 in favor of Albuquerque!  Not to worry…the game wasn’t over yet!  In the top of the sixth, Tucson busted out with five runs of their own (seeing three different Isotope pitchers in the process).  As had happened to Tucson pitching in the fifth, it appeared that the Tope pitchers simply couldn’t throw anything Tucson couldn’t hit!  Practically everybody got a single in the inning…but the real BIG hit came off Jeremy Hermida’s bat!  He brought in three runs on a homer!  Ten Pads came to the plate in the inning!  So, score now seven to ten, Topes.  Tucson’s next pitcher to the mound was Josh Spence.  It’s always fun to hear Broadcaster Tim Hagerty talk about “soft-tossing” Spence!  At one point last night I swear he said, “Well, that pitch was at 83mph…that’s really fast for Josh.”  You get the idea:  Spence is not usually a “lights out” pitcher.  So, Josh is facing the leadoff batter in the sixth inning.  He tosses one strike, tosses a second…the lights, LITERALLY, go off at Isotopes Park!  Well, apparently not completely off, but dim enough to require a delay of the game until the lighting could be recycled up to full power.  That took 17 minutes.  I was afraid that delay might affect Josh badly, but it didn’t appear to.  Sure he gave up a run in the sixth (unearned, as our boys committed yet another error), but it was just one run…and he came back to pitch a scoreless seventh, too!  This takes us up to the top of the eighth.  Tucson still trailing…Stephen Fife on the mound for Albuquerque (he pitched a very effective seventh against us).  Fife strikes out the first two in the seventh.  I was thinking the game was very nearly over.  But suddenly Fife lost control.  He gave up a walk, then a single, and then the third batter, Jedd, reached first on a Tope error.  Bases loaded and ALB Manager Lorenzo Bundy has seen enough.  He pulls Fife for Scott Rice.  Rice really never got a groove.  Two outs, bases loaded…and Rice walks in three consecutive runs.  I’ve always thought an RBI BB was a neat stat – and I got to use that one a lot in the eighth last night!  Bases STILL loaded.  Lo Bundy sees this Rice is not helping matters, so he brings Angel Guzman in from the bullpen to pick up the slack.  The very first batter he faced, Vince Belnome, whacked out his fourth homer of the season for a no-doubter GRAND SLAM!  That’s four grand slams in the 2012 season for our T-Pads, and the second on this road trip!  Guzman gets out of the inning when the next batter, Beamer Weems, struck out (poor Beamer:  he’d led off the inning with a K, too!).  In fact, Albuquerque struck out the side…but in between the second and third K, the T-Pads took control of the game!  Jason Ray pitched the eighth for Tucson:  no runs allowed, but Tucson did add their fourth error of the game to that tally.  Guzman got three quick outs in the top of the ninth; Nick Vincent kicked off the bottom of the ninth with a single, but the T-Pads turned the only double-play of the game with the second batter and then Nick struck out the final batter to end the game.  Amazingly, the T-Pads crawled out of a big hole, to win a crazy one in Albuquerque!  With the win, they have guaranteed themselves a series split…but I’m still holding out for a series win!  Go Tucson!   Final Score:  Tucson 14; Albuquerque 11.

Transactions and Injury Report.   I don’t see anything new today.

The Land of Enchantment Beckons.   Our Pads are in New Mexico to face the Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers) for two more night games (6:05pm local) before they return to Tucson on Friday, August 10th.  Remember you can catch ALL Tucson Padres games this season on Tucson’s own Tejano 1600 AM (also available on the web off the Tucson Padres website).  You don’t have to miss a single pitch while the team’s away!

(Disclaimer – This posting has not been reviewed/approved by Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Padres, Tucson AAA Baseball, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, PCL, MiLB, MLB, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Tucson Baseball LLC, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)

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