Saturday recap – Fresno suffered its seventh loss in nine games, further crippling the team’s Pacific Coast League playoff hopes, as Rafael Tapia drove in three runs in leading Albuquerque to a 7-2 win in the series opener. Derek Fisher homered in the top of the second to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead, but Brandon Barnes’ two-run double in the bottom half put Albuquerque in front for good. The Isotopes led 6-1 after four. David Paulino, in his Grizzlies debut, allowed six runs (four earned) in four innings. He did strike out seven. Eddie Butler, who had been listed as Sunday’s starter for Albuquerque, improved to 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in August after allowing two earned runs in seven innings.
Up next – Fresno will play Game 2 of the series and road trip when it takes on Albuquerque at 5:05 p.m. Sunday. Another newcomer will get the start for the Grizzlies in LH Evan Grills, promoted from Double-A Corpus Christi where he was 5-5 with a 3.99 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 69 strikeouts in 94.2 innings across 16 games including 13 starts. He was a 10th-round pick by Houston in the 2010 draft. Albuquerque’s starter was not available.
More moves – Houston, after its game Saturday, announced it would recall Cuban defector Yulieski Gurriel from Triple-A Fresno and start him as the designated hitter in Sunday’s finale of a four-game series with Baltimore. He hit .222 and slugged .444 in 18 at-bats with the Grizzlies. The Astros optioned 1B Tyler White to Fresno to make room for Gurriel. Also set to rejoin the Grizzlies is RH James Hoyt, still the PCL leader in saves 18 days after earning his first big league call-up. Hoyt started fast with the Astros but heads back with a 7.07 ERA in nine games after allowing four runs in two-thirds of an inning Thursday against Baltimore. Houston needed a fresh bullpen arm and recalled RH Brad Peacock.
Great at the gate – The Grizzlies wrapped up a rough 2-6 homestand Friday but received a nice consolation prize at the end: back-to-back crowds of 10,000-plus for the Grizzlies’ largest two-day attendance total of the season. On Friday, 10,216 turned out after a franchise second-best 14,651 fans turned out on Taco Truck Throwdown 6 night Thursday. The previous high was the 22,925 for the first two home games of the season, April 15-16 against Las Vegas (13,415 and 9,510).