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Howard dominant in 4th of July start

Set off the Fourth of July fireworks for Sam Howard of the Colorado Rockies organization.

Howard had his best game since joining the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes Tuesday night with an eight-inning, ten strikeout performance that shutout the visiting Sacramento River Cats 2-0 at Isotopes Park.

The former Cartersville High School and Georgia Southern southpaw is now 2-1 with the Isotopes and needed only 91 pitches to dominate his eight innings of work. He scattered three hits and did not issue a walk.

Howard is now 3-5 with a 2.81 ERA in 14 starts split between Double-A Hartford of the Eastern League and Triple-A Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League. He has pitched 73 and 2/3 innings with 66 strikeouts, a 1.00 WHIP, and a .210 batting average against.

Howard was spectacular Tuesday evening in front of 15,664 fans. It was the fifth-largest crowd in Isotopes Park history and his 10 strikeouts matched his career-high.

When Howard left the game in the middle of the eighth, the game was scoreless. Opposing pitcher Jose Flores also had an impressive outing, but Tom Murphy smashed a solo home run for Albuquerque in the bottom of the eighth and Daniel Castro added a sacrifice fly later in the frame to give the Isotopes a 2-0 lead. Reliever Jairo Diaz closed out the ninth for the home team to complete the shutout.

The Isotopes are 41-43 following Tuesday night’s win and are in second place at 5.5 games behind Pacific Southern Division leading Salt Lake Bees of the Los Angeles Angels’ organization.

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