OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City RedHawks fought through a pitchers' duel to win their third consecutive game 2-1 over the Albuquerque Isotopes Wednesday.
All of the game's runs came in the first two innings. The RedHawks (29-38) started the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first thanks to RBIs from Robinson Cancel and Koby Clemens.
The Isotopes (37-29) cut the lead in half with an RBI single by Jamie Hoffman in the second inning, and the score did not change for the rest of the night. The next seven innings were all about the pitchers.
Andy Van Hekken (1-3) pitched seven nearly flawless innings for the RedHawks, holding Albuquerque to just three hits and one walk while striking out seven. After he left, the Isotopes put runners on base in each of the final two innings, but could not take advantage.
In the eighth, Justin Sellers stood on second base with only one out in the inning. One more hit likely would have tied the game, but a baserunning mistake ended that threat.
Eugenio Velez hit a pitch straight up the middle in the next at-bat, and Sellers left second base on contact. Had the ball gotten out of the infield, Sellers likely would have scored. But it didn't, as pitcher Jeff Fulchino grabbed it and threw quickly to third to retire Sellers.
Jay Gibbons led off the ninth inning with a single to again put the tying run on base, but again Albuquerque could not capitalize. The Isotopes elected not to bunt the runner into scoring position, and instead Jerry Sands grounded into a double play. Russell Mitchell popped out two batters later to end the game.
Jose Valdez closed things out in the ninth to earn his third save of the season, despite giving up two hits in his only inning of work.
Meanwhile, Dana Eveland (6-4) finished with a loss despite a strong starting performance. He allowed just two hits after the first inning and held OKC to a total of five in six innings of work. The two pitchers who came after him allowed just one baserunner, but received no offensive support.
The RedHawks' victory came on the heels of a doubleheader sweep the day before. The three wins guarantee Oklahoma City a victory in the series, which will conclude at 7:05 p.m. Thursday.