The 51s took control early Tuesday, scoring five runs in the second inning.
But they spent the latter part of the game holding on, finally leaving Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a 12-9 victory over the host Isotopes.
Albuquerque scored in each of the final five innings, but never caught the 51s, who built as much as an 11-3 lead.
“Our pitchers are professional pitchers, and they’re at this level for a reason,” 51s acting manager and hitting coach Jack Voigt said. “And our hitters did a better job today of handling the strike zone, getting certain pitches to hit and staying with a certain approach against a pitcher (Matt Flemer) who didn’t throw exceptionally hard but tended to throw more offspeed pitches. The plan going into the game was to look out over the plate and not think pull so much.”
Dominic Smith went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, three runs and two doubles to lead a 51s offense that finished with 17 hits, the most for Las Vegas since also pounding out 17 in an April 27 home game against the Isotopes.
Two other players also drove in three runs apiece for the 51s — Amed Rosario and Josh Rodriguez. Desmond Jennings went 3-for-5 with two runs and a double.
“We’ve had this kind of production before this year,” Voigt said. “When we have younger players at this level who are still trying to find their way and learning to make adjustments to what pitching in this league does, you’re going to have some ups and downs, especially when they haven’t seen some of this pitching. But on the other hand, it’s a credit to the players, both the hitters and the pitchers, that they stick with what they know works for them.
“It might not work against a certain team or on a certain night, but the overall talent that these guys have, it plays here. They’re just young. That’s what making adjustments is.”
Sean Gilmartin, who has been up and down between Las Vegas and the parent New York Mets, started for the 51s. He gave up eight hits and three runs (two earned) in 4 2/3 innings, failing to qualify for the victory by one out. Gilmartin threw 68 pitches, including 53 for strikes.
“Gilmartin did great for coming back and basically not even knowing when he’s going to throw when he’s in the big leagues or if he’s coming down,” Voigt said. “He knows what he’s capable of doing because he’s very confident, and he’s a gamer. Gilmartin gave us everything he could.
”Frank (Viola, pitching coach) and I talked. We wish we could’ve kept him in there to get that third out and get the five innings pitched for the win, but at the same time, he’s still got to help the major-league club in New York and we have to watch those pitch counts because he hasn’t really been stretched out in a consistent manner.”
Kevin McGowan (2-1) picked up the win after giving up four hits and two runs in 2 1/3 innings.
The 51s, who used four pitchers overall, allowed 17 hits.
“We didn’t have a lot of hard-hit balls against us today, but it was well placed,” said Voigt, filling in for manager Pedro Lopez, who was taking the three allowed days off for those in the Mets’ system. “This is a hitters’ paradise here. Everyone talks about Vegas and the ball flies and things like that, but the ball flies here more than Las Vegas, and this is a big ballpark.”
This victory ended a skid for the 51s (15-18) in which they had lost six of seven games.
“This is a well-deserved day off (Wednesday) after some tough scheduling the last two weeks with travel and then a day game on the second day after a travel and things like that,” Voigt said. “So it’s just a really good feeling going into an off day with putting this back together like this.”
Contact Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.