Cabrera threw 41 pitches in the first inning – only 16 for strikes – in his only inning of work during his Aces debut and helped leave an Aces Ballpark crowd of 5,219 disappointed after an 8-4 defeat.
Cabrera led the American League in wild pitches and hit batsmen last season and the new scenery didn’t calm his wildness.
The first three Isotope batters of the game reached base safely on a single, double and walk. Mitch Jones was the last hitter Cabrera wanted to face with the bases loaded and the Albuquerque clean-up man bumped up his power numbers to 30 home runs and 85 RBIs by launching a no-doubter over the billboards in left field for a grand slam on a 2-0 pitch.
Cabrera didn’t settle down, walking Dee Brown on four straight pitches. Still with no outs, JD Closser’s single put runners on the corners.
Jamie Hoffmann made it a 5-0 game with his hard-hit sacrifice fly to left field, plating Brown.
The Isotopes batted around the order when A.J. Ellis drew the third walk of the inning and pitcher Dwayne Pollok sacrificed the runners to second and third, setting up a wild pitch during leadoff hitter Tony Abreu’s at-bat, increasing the Aces’ hole to 6-0 before they had a chance to step up to the plate.
Ruben Gotay tried to give fans something to smile about by leading off the bottom of the second inning with a solo shot to right field. But that was about all the excitement Reno provided in the loss that ended its two-game win streak. The Aces were limited to four hits.
Albuquerque loaded the bases again in the fourth, but a double play limited the damage and the visitors only came away with a single score.
The Isotopes (69-55) added another run in the sixth when Ellis doubled to right field and eventually came home on an Abreu sac fly, increasing the lead to 8-1. Abreu and Closser were both 3-for-4 on the night, but teammate Chin-lung Hu led the way with a perfect 4-for-4 effort.
That’s how the score remained until the bottom of the ninth. Brandon Allen and Gotay both drew base on balls for Reno (65-59).
With one out, Cole Gillespie belted a three-run shot to make the final margin a little more respectable.
For the first place team from the American South, Pollok threw six innings and was touched up for just one run on three hits to pick up his third triumph of the year.
Seth Etherton did a nice job in a long relief role, going seven innings and allowing just two runs on eight hits. He struck out seven and walked two.
In the first meeting ever between the two teams, Albuquerque out-hit Reno 13-4. The Isotopes also prevented the Aces from improving to a season-best eight games over the .500 mark.
The teams’ only series of the season continues today at 7:05 p.m. Hector Ambriz (6-8, 6.07 ERA) will take the mound for Reno, while Albuquerque will counter with Eric Stults (4-2, 4.93 ERA).