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McPherson takes over HR lead


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Ever since Albuquerque's day off June 18, Dallas McPherson has been launching balls out of the yard.


The Isotopes' third baseman went yard for the sixth straight game for his Minor League-leading 27th home run as Albuquerque topped the Iowa Cubs, 9-6, at Principal Park.


With two runs already home in the first frame, McPherson sent a shot over the right-field wall to make it 3-0. It was the sixth straight game in which he has homered, one shy of the Pacific Coast League record. The modern league record for consecutive games with at least one home run is held by Claude Westmoreland, also of Albuquerque, who homered nine times over a seven-game span from June 27 to July 3, 1977.


McPherson, who also stroked a two-run single in the seventh, has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games. Over that span, he is hitting .404 (21-for-52) with eight homers and 14 RBIs. He raised his average to .309, the highest it's been since peaking at .303 on May 22.


"Things are going well for me right now," he said. "I feel good at the plate and things are slowing down. I've been getting ahead in the count, getting good pitches and making the best of my swings."


A second-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2001, McPherson made his Major League debut on Sept. 20, 2004 and spent parts of three seasons in the big leagues, hitting .247 with 18 homers and 45 RBIs in 117 games. Since then he has battled hip and back injuries, undergoing surgery on Jan. 22, 2007 to remove a disc and repair a fractured vertebra in his back. Although he missed the entire season last year, he was confident he would come back strong in 2008.


"I didn't think I was going to have a bad year just because I missed the time. At this point in my career, I know my swing and I know the game of baseball and how pitchers are going to work me," he said. "The experience has helped this year more than anything."


After signing a one-year deal with the Marlins this offseason, McPherson was given an opportunity to compete with Jorge Cantu for the third base job, but never got much of a chance to show what he could do due to a few injuries and a lack of playing time.


"I pulled an oblique and a groin muscle and didn't play in too many [spring Training] games, he said. "Right now I'm just hoping to get another chance."


With Cantu having a strong year in Florida, the former Citadel standout is unsure of what the future may hold for him, whether it be with the Marlins or elsewhere.


"I haven't heard from [Florida'. I don't know what their plans are. I'm just trying to improve here everyday. It's something the organization and my agent and other teams will decide," McPherson said. "I hope to get there with the Marlins and I'm focused on that. I just have to do what they ask and see what happens."


He has learned plenty from the experience though.


"The biggest thing I've learned is to appreciate baseball a little bit more. When you miss a year and have to watch what you love doing, you learn to have fun and appreciate things more."


Jai Miller hit a pair of homers, giving him 13 for the year, and drove in three runs and Tagg Bozied hit a two-run shot, his 12th, for Albuquerque (37-40).


Isotopes starter Dallas Trahern (3-6) allowed three runs on six hits while striking out five and walking one over six innings to win his second straight start.


Micah Hoffpauir hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs and Casey McGehee doubled and scored for the Cubs (45-34). Iowa starter Mike Burns (5-5) allowed six runs on 11 hits while striking out three and walking one over five innings.


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