It happened quickly.
A single. A walk. Two more singles. And then a pitch taken to right field.
Jordan Patterson’s grand slam in the third inning of Mitch Atkins helped propel Albuquerque to an 8-4 victory on Thursday night at Cashman Field.
The grand slam — the first of two home runs for Patterson on the night — gave the Isotopes a five-run lead, one that the 51s would never recover from.
“I just think he was having a hard time having a feel for his pitches and just not being able to get ahead,” catcher Kevin Plawecki said of Atkins.
Atkins gave up six runs on six hits and three walks in three innings of work.
“He just didn’t have any command of any of his pitches,” manager Pedro Lopez said. “He’s been able to pound the strike zone down and mix his pitches and just tonight unfortunately the curveball wasn’t working for him.”
The lead the Isotopes (45-45) built early proved to be insurmountable for the 51s (35-56).
They had taken an early lead in the first inning on a Plawecki RBI single before Atkins gave back that lead in the second.
After the Isotopes scored one in the top of the sixth, Las Vegas responded with one of its own — this one on another Plawecki RBI single.
Plawecki finished the night with three of the team’s nine hits.
“(I was) just seeing the ball well,” Plawecki said. “I saw some pitches up and was able to make good swings on them. They found holes.”
The same pattern played out an inning later when Albuquerque struck for a run in the top of the 51s only for Las Vegas to respond with one of its own on a Cody Decker solo home run to left field in the bottom of the frame.
But it was that five-run third that sunk the 51s and the grand slam that was the difference in the loss.
“It’s more about it just (was a) bad game, one of those games you get once in awhile,” Lopez said. “We’ve been playing well. Pitching’s been doing a good job. Tonight was just one of those nights so hopefully tomorrow we can come out, execute the game plan, have good at-bats and go from there.”
Who: Albuquerque Isotopes at 51s
When: 7:05 p.m. today
Where: Cashman Field
Starters: Ryan Carpenter (6-5, 4.77 ERA) vs. Tyler Pill (4-2, 3.16 ERA)
Saturday: Albuquerque at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Albuquerque at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Monday: Fresno at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday: Fresno at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Fresno at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
The 51s will have postgame fireworks on Friday following their second game of the series against Albuquerque. Saturday, they’ll give away Noah Syndergaard hats to the first 2,500 fans in attendance.
Contact Betsy Helfand at email@example.com. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.