Dominic Smith stays hot, but 51s bullpen melts in loss to Isotopes

Updated July 7, 2017 - 11:48 pm

Dominic Smith had a stellar at-bat Friday night at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The 51s first baseman fouled off several pitches and narrowly missed hitting a home run to right field before belting a tiebreaking, opposite-field solo shot to left to give the 51s a 3-2 lead over the Isotopes in the sixth inning.

But Smith’s heroics went for naught, as reliever Alberto Baldonado surrendered back-to-back homers in Albuquerque’s four-run seventh en route to a 6-4 loss.

Noel Cuevas, a Pacific Coast League All-Star, crushed a go-ahead three-run homer to put Albuquerque (43-44) ahead 5-4, and Jordan Patterson followed with a solo shot off Baldonado, who surrendered four runs on four hits and a walk in one-third of an inning.

“He didn’t have his best stuff tonight,” 51s manager Pedro Lopez said. “He made too many mistakes up the middle, and he got hurt. Unfortunately, he just didn’t execute his pitches.”

Donovan Hand allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings for the 51s (34-54), who were denied their first three-game win streak since May 21.

“He did a really good job. We made two errors behind him, and he still went out and competed and gave us a chance to win the ballgame,” Lopez said. “We had them right there. It’s just unfortunate the seventh inning went the way it did.”

Las Vegas went ahead 4-2 in the seventh on Cody Decker’s pinch-hit RBI double off the center-field wall.

The Isotopes took a 2-0 lead in the second on a RBI single by Daniel Castro and a throwing error by 51s shortstop Gavin Cecchini. The 51s tied the game in the fifth when Jayce Boyd and Phillip Evans opened the inning with singles and scored on Jio Mier’s two-run double.

Smith has been on a tear — he’s 10-for-22 with four homers, 12 RBIs and eight runs scored in his past five games.

“He’s swinging the bat really well right now. He’s a good hitter, and he’s doing a really good job keeping his approach and staying up the middle,” Lopez said. “That allows him to drive the ball to all fields.”

Smith leads the PCL in hits (115) and is in the top 10 in the league in batting (.330), RBIs (58) and runs (57). He’s second on the team in homers (12), behind Travis Taijeron (16), and recently compiled a 19-game hitting streak that ended on the Fourth of July. A first-round draft pick (11th overall) of the parent New York Mets in 2013, the 22-year-old is ranked No. 2 among Mets prospects by MLB.com and the No. 63 prospect in the game overall.

Catcher Kevin Plawecki, the 51s’ cleanup hitter, went 2-for-4 with a double to raise his average to .329.

Up next

Who: 51s at Albuquerque Isotopes

When: 6:05 p.m. Saturday

Where: Isotopes Park

Starters: Wilfredo Boscan (3-7, 5.48 ERA), 51s, vs. Barry Enright (4-3, 6.22)

Next five

Sunday: Las Vegas at Albuquerque, 5:05 p.m.

Monday: All-Star break

Tuesday: All-Star break

Wednesday: All-Star break

Thursday: Albuquerque at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.

Update

Boscan, the 51s’ scheduled starter on Saturday, is coming off his worst two-start stretch of the season. The Venezuelan right-hander allowed 12 runs on 22 hits with four walks and two strikeouts in 10 innings of losses at Salt Lake and Tacoma.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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