ALBUQUERQUE — Rest easy, Joltin’ Joe.
The Yankee Clipper’s record hitting streaks will live on without the threat of Elian Herrera coming up fast on the outside.
The Isotopes infielder had a team record-tying 19-game hitting streak snapped in the nightcap of Thursday’s doubleheader against Memphis at Isotopes Park.
He hit safely in 17 straight before a recent promotion to the parent club Los Angeles Dodgers. He extended the streak with hits in his last two games since being sent back to Triple-A.
It falls well short of Joe DiMaggio’s Pacific Coast League record of 61 straight games, set way back in 1933. The Hall of Famer also holds a Major League Baseball record 56-game streak eight years later with the New York Yankees.
Herrera said he didn’t really give his streak much thought. If anyone brought it up, he’d end the conversation before it even got off the ground.
“After the game, yeah,” he said when asked if he gave his run a once-over. “Before the game, I didn’t want to think about it.”
The Isotopes played twice against the Redbirds on Thursday, the first being a makeup from Wednesday’s rainout. Albuquerque took the opener 4-3 and lost the nightcap 3-2.
They ended the first game when a perfect relay from outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez to infielder Ozzie Martinez to catcher Tim Federowicz was in time to gun down the would-be tying run with two outs in the final inning.
Herrera didn’t play in the opener but started at shortstop in the second game. He finished 0-for-4, including a game-ending groundout to second with the potential tying run on base.
He swung at the first pitch in two of his at bats and saw only five pitches all night.
“Not having been around him much until this year I don’t know if he’s pressing to do anything more than he usually does,” said Lorenzo Bundy, Isotopes manager. “Normally he works the count a little bit.”
Herrera said he adjusted his swing in the offseason. He began changing his overall approach at the plate while still in the minors, trying to see more pitches and turn himself into a true leadoff hitter by forcing the pitchers to show him more of their arsenal.
It paid off when the Dodgers summoned him to the big leagues. Describing it as a dream come true, he said he’ll take his brief cup of coffee in the majors and make it work for him with the Isotopes.
If it means starting a new streak Friday against Memphis, so be it.
“I try to get better every day,” he said.
In any case, Herrera at least has his name etched alongside former Isotopes Eric Reed and Jamie Hoffmann. The trio share the longest hitting streak in team history.
Until someone carries that streak to 19 and extends it another six weeks, DiMaggio’s record will stand alone.
Team notes: Thursday’s doubleheader attendance of 10,381 raised the team’s season total to 394,474 — an average of 7,586, third best in the PCL.
• Neither Albuquerque starting pitcher tossed a complete game Thursday, extending the team’s streak without a complete game to nearly a full year.
• Isotopes slugger Scott Van Slyke was ejected in the first game after arguing a called third strike in the sixth inning.
• The green chile pepper swept Thursday’s nightly staging of the El Pinto Chile Pepper Race. It now holds a 15-12 advantage over the taco.
The red pepper and salsa jar have each won 11 times.