Posted by Mack Ade at 7:00 AM
NEED TO KNOW: For the second time during the opening road trip of the season, the Albuquerque Isotopes (9-11) fell victim to a walk off victory. The Las Vegas 51s (12-8) claimed a 6-5 win after a two-run ninth inning at Cashman Field in Las Vegas, NV, Tuesday afternoon. The Isotopes return home to face the Salt Lake Bees Thursday night at 6:35 p.m.
DECIDING MOMENT: The Isotopes jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the second inning after back-to-back home runs from Angelys Nina and Tim Smalling. Dustin Garneau singled to get the offense started before Tim Wheeler drew a walk. Nina lined a 1-1 pitch over the center field wall, and Smalling followed with a solo shot of his own. The 51s chipped away to cut the Topes lead to 5-4 in the seventh. After escaping a bases loaded, no one out jam in the bottom of the eighth, Albuquerque needed just three outs to take the final game of the series. Las Vegas had other ideas as Johnny Monell led off the ninth with a double. Following back-to-back outs, a walk put runners on the corners with two down. Wilfredo Tovar then doubled in both runs to give the 51s the walk-off win.
BACK-TO-BACK: Angelys Nina and Tim Smalling blasted back-to-back home runs in the second inning. The long balls were the first of the year for each player. It is the first time Isotopes players have gone back-to-back since Mike Baxter and Joc Pederson went back-to-back on August 18 of last season against Nashville.
TWO-OUT TURBULANCE: The 51s posted five two-out RBI Tuesday afternoon. Combined with Monday's two-out magic, 14 of the last 17 runs given up by the Isotopes pitching staff have come with two outs. In the four-game series against Las Vegas, Albuquerque surrendered 27 runs in total, 17 of which came with two outs.
NINA ON FIRE: Second baseman Angelys Nina turned in his best outing of the year, a 3-for-4 showing with a homer and four RBI. It is his third three-hit game and fourth multi-hit game overall. Nina's four RBI tops his three-RBI performance on April 12 against Reno.
FORMER TOPES, CURRENT FOES: Albuquerque faced two former Isotopes during their series in Las Vegas: catcher Johnny Monell and infielder Alex Castellanos. The duo produced plenty of offense against their former team. Monell turned in a 6-for-13 series with two doubles and four RBI, while Castellanos combined to go 7-for-14 with a double, a triple, two homers, five RBI and two walks in the series.