The Albuquerque Isotopes built a big early lead, nearly gave it right back and then erupted one last time to bury the visiting Nashville Sounds 9-5 on Thursday night.
Albuquerque (69-64) earned consecutive victories for the first time since Aug. 11-12. The Isotopes are still just 6-20 in August.
“I’m feeling better, how’s that?” manager Lorenzo Bundy said with a weary smile.
Red Patterson (7-4) threw six shutout innings, scattering three hits and three walks while striking out six batters. He credited his catcher Drew Butera with helping him through the start.
“I felt good (and) obviously if you feel good you throw good,” Patterson said. “Drew and I were working really well together. He actually saved me a couple times. I tried to shake him off. He stuck down the same sign and said, ‘You’re throwing this.’ It worked out.”
Patterson walked two batters in the first inning but got out of trouble thanks to a 4-6-3 double play. He went on to retire 12 batters in a row before walking Josh Prince with two outs in the fifth.
Blake Davis broke up the no-hit bid with a single to left field but opposing pitcher Zach Kroenke (5-15) grounded into a force play at second base to end the inning.
“A lot of good defensive plays (behind me),” Patterson said. “A couple big double plays by Elian and Dee, that helped out.”
Patterson gave up two more hits in the sixth inning but got another 4-6-3 double play to erase one and struck out Hunter Morris to finish his evening on a high note.
“His last two hitters probably cost him another inning, he probably threw 20 pitches against them,” Bundy said. “But he was good, he was really aggressive.”
The Isotopes staked Patterson to a big early lead with a six-run second inning. Justin Sellers had a three-run triple, Dee Gordon chipped in an RBI single and Scott Van Slyke blasted a two-run double off the center field hill.
“I have a tendency to get kind of lazy when something like that happens,” Patterson said of the big inning. “I kind of lose focus and start to think I have a six-run lead, I can cruise. I tried to mentally make myself focus a little bit more.”
That lead would seemingly be enough most nights, but Blake Johnson came on in relief in the seventh and had an outing to forget. Blake Davis torched him for a two-run triple and scored on Stephen Parker’s sacrifice fly to cut Albuquerque’s lead in half. Kentrail Davis then blasted a solo home run to left field to pull Nashville (51-82) within 6-4.
“Blake struggled, he left some balls out over the plate,” Bundy said.
Eliezer Alfonzo gave the Isotopes some breathing room with a monster three-run homer to the trees beyond center field in the seventh inning.
“We hit some balls hard; obviously a big home run by Alfonzo to give us that cushion again,” Bundy said.
Sellers did leave the game after fouling a ball off his foot in the sixth inning but was walking around with any trouble after the game was over.
“I guess we’ll have to re-evaluate his situation tomorrow,” Bundy said with his tongue planted firmly in cheek. “Be it mental or physical.”
The Isotopes and Sounds will continue their series Friday at 7:05 p.m.