Chili Buss and Eliezer Alfonzo each blasted two-run homers as the Albuquerque Isotopes rolled to a 10-5 victory over the Round Rock Express on Thursday night.
The Isotopes (74-66) gave the 14,588 fans in attendance — the second largest crowd of the season and 11th largest all-time — quite the show in their final home game of the season.
“This kind of shows us who are fans are, they’re baseball fans,” manager Lorenzo Bundy said. “They love their ‘Topes. They realized this is the last chance they get to see us in 2013. I just want to thank them for all of their support. We really appreciate them.”
The game was scoreless going into Albuquerque’s half of the fourth inning when Scott Van Slyke singled and Alfonzo followed with a blast into the picnic area beyond left field.
Two batters later Alex Castellanos singled and Brian Barden was then hit by a pitch. Justin Sellers followed with a two-run triple to left-center and then scored on Drew Butera’s groundout to make it 5-0.
“It was good to see the guys swing the bats,” Bundy said. “You know, we try and take every at-bat no matter what the outcome or the score of the game as important. At-bats are important not to waste them, to go up and do your best.”
The Express (72-68) chased starter Stephen Fife in the fifth inning after Joey Butler blasted a two-run homer to right-center.
Fife gave up seven hits and walked five while striking out just two batters in 4.1 innings. He only threw 43 of 80 pitches for strikes, continuing a rough stretch of late for the right-hander.
“Five walks, a lot of three-ball counts, he’s just out of sync,” Bundy said. “It’s something we haven’t seen in a long time from him. Now we’ve seen it a little bit too much.
“He’s got a bullpen (left) to get some things ironed out and we’ll see the next time he cranks it out.”
The Isotopes tacked on three more runs in their half of the fifth on Van Slyke’s RBI double and Buss’ blast to the right field berm, which pushed his league-leading RBI total to 99.
“It’s hard to get a hit so if you’re not locked in or focused completely more often than not you’re not going to get a hit,” Bundy said. “It’s good to see them finish it off here at home in front of a nice crowd.”
Every Albuquerque starter had at least one hit save for Butera. Van Slyke went 3-for-4, Dee Gordon was 3-for-5, falling a home run shy of the cycle, and Sellers was 2-for-4, adding a solo home run in the eighth inning.
“We knew it was the last game and the guys came out and played (well),” Gordon said, before adding about missing the cycle, “That ain’t my game! I got my one for the year (with the Dodgers).”
Sean White (6-6) picked up the win as he allowed just one run in 2.2 innings of relief.
The Isotopes will head to New Orleans on Friday for a season-ending four-game series.