51s swept by Isotopes as Sean Gilmartin shelled in return

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In his return from the disabled list, 51s left-hander Sean Gilmartin was slated to throw 60 to 65 pitches.

He didn’t make it that long.

Gilmartin was rattled for six runs and nine hits in his three-inning outing in a game that had the makings of a blowout.

Las Vegas did make it interesting near the end, but eventually fell 8-7 to Albuquerque at Isotopes Park, giving the last-place Isotopes a four-game series sweep.

“The way we played the first six innings of the game or five innings of the game, whatever it was, we didn’t play the game hard,” 51s manager Wally Backman said. “I’ve seen us going through the motions tonight, and I’ve seen us going through the motions for the last four games, especially the last two since T.J. (Rivera’s) been gone. Guys (are) upset that they weren’t called up. You still have to play baseball, and you still have to play hard for nine innings.”

Backman had a team meeting last Thursday to address similar concerns about not competing in between games of a doubleheader against Fresno. Though the immediate results were good, the recent ones haven’t been.

“Guys get upset when other people get called up. They think they’re supposed to be in the (expletive) big leagues,” Backman said. “There’s a reason they’re (expletive) here. There’s a reason they’re sent down to the minor leagues. To work on things. To get better so they can go back to the big leagues. I don’t like the fact that I think players are going through the motions.”

One player whom Backman said wasn’t going through the motions, Gilmartin, struggled nonetheless.

In the first inning, Gilmartin (9-5) gave up a triple and a double to the first batters for the Isotopes’ first run.

An inning later, he came away unscathed despite giving up two hits.

But in the third, the Isotopes erupted for a five-run inning. Gilmartin gave up five hits — including a home run — two walks and two wild pitches in the inning.

It was his first start back from a shoulder issue — one that has held him out of action since July 20.

“He struggled. It’s his first time out. He wasn’t sharp tonight. He wasn’t able to locate his pitches, got behind in the count,” Backman said. “He’s a pitcher that really relies on control because he’s not a power guy, and it was off tonight.”

After trailing big for most of the game, the 51s rallied.

They scored four runs in the seventh on L.J. Mazzilli’s solo home run and Kevin Plawecki’s three-run shot. They added three in the eighth on Gavin Cecchini’s two-run homer and a bases-loaded hit by pitch, but stranded the bases loaded.

The loss sends the spiraling 51s into an off day at 57-62 after losing seven of their past 10.

“I’ll tell the players after the off day, from here on out, if they don’t run hard, they don’t play hard, they’re coming right out of the (expletive) game,” Backman said. “And I don’t (expletive) care if I have to use a pitcher in the game.”

Up next

When: Off Thursday

Next five

Friday: New Orleans at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.

Saturday: New Orleans at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.

Sunday: New Orleans at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.

Monday: New Orleans at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.

Tuesday: Round Rock at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.

Betsy Helfand can be reached at bhelfand@reviewjournal.com. Follow on Twitter: @BetsyHelfand

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