Scott Van Slyke might have just taken himself off Aaron Laffey’s Christmas card list.
The Albuquerque slugger was none too kind to his former teammate, falling a home run shy of the cycle as the Isotopes rolled to a 12-7 victory over the visiting Nashville Sounds.
A total of 11,802 fans waited out a 1-hour, 26-minute rain delay, followed by 3 hours, 18 minutes of baseball, to see Albuquerque (71-64) win its fourth in a row over Nashville (51-84).
“Offensively we did some good things,” manager Lorenzo Bundy said.
Van Slyke had an RBI single in the first inning, doubled and later scored in the third and ripped a two-run triple to right-center in the fourth. He flew out to left field in the sixth and was intentionally walked in the eighth.
“Well, he’ll probably tell you when you talk to him the at-bat before that walk he had a pitch to hit,” Bundy said. “And he missed it.”
Van Slyke agreed.
“Pretty close, I should have hit that ball out,” Van Slyke said.
The rest of the Isotopes did not treat Laffey (6-8) any better than Van Slyke did. Chili Buss had three of his four hits off Laffey while Eliezer Alfonzo, who was not with Albuquerque when Laffey was, blasted a two-run homer off him in the fourth inning.
Laffey’s final line saw him charged with eight runs on 11 hits and one walk in four innings as he dropped to 2-5 with the Sounds.
“It seems like the last three or four games … I think when a couple guys start hitting everyone else does,” Van Slyke said.
The game was a seesaw affair early, mainly due to the first inning struggles of Isotopes starter Stephen Fife (2-4). The right-hander gave up three runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter in that frame alone.
The rest of the contest went better for Fife as he allowed just a solo home run to former Isotope Eugenio Velez in the third inning.
All told, Fife was charged with four runs, three hits and four walks while striking out three in five innings. It was still a significant improvement from his prior start in Oklahoma City, in which he recorded just one out, allowed six runs and only threw eight of 32 pitches for strikes.
“Stephen struggled with his command but he battled,” Bundy said. “He got us five (innings).”
Trailing 4-2 in the third inning, Albuquerque got a one-out double from Van Slyke, followed by Buss’ two-out RBI single. Buss stole second base and then scored on Brian Barden’s bloop single to right-center to tie the game.
In the fourth, Fife helped himself out with a one-out single. Dee Gordon followed with a single and two batters later Van Slyke tripled to make it 6-4. Alfonzo followed with his home run off the scoreboard to make it 8-4.
Albuquerque and Nashville each scored in the seventh to make it 9-5. The Sounds picked up two runs off Onelki Garcia in the eighth but Velez, who needed a double for a cycle of his own, flew out to left field with two on to end the threat.
Alex Castellanos hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to provide some final insurance.
The Isotopes will go for the series sweep Sunday at 6:05 p.m.