Jesus Montero homered and drove in five runs for Tacoma as the Rainiers topped the Aces, 7-5, to begin the post-All Star Break stretch run at Aces Ballpark.
The Aces failed to capitalize with men on base, collecting just three hits in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Reno stranded 10 baserunners overall, including six in the sixth through eighth innings.
Despite a pair of 1-2-3 innings in the first and second, Aces starter Andrew Chafin (3-4) was unable to make it through five innings, giving up a pair of three-run innings in the fourth and fifth to pick up the loss. Jess Todd allowed two of Chafin’s baserunners to score before escaping the fifth, and pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh.
Tacoma took advantage of a walk and an error in the fourth when Montero cracked an opposite-field three-run home run to right off of Chafin. Montero tacked on two more RBIs on a single in the fifth, part of a three-run Rainiers rally.
The Aces got on the board in the fourth with a two-out RBI single by Aaron Cunningham to drive in Roger Kieschnick. Cunningham later scored on a wild pitch by Erasmo Ramirez, one of three wild pitches tossed by the Tacoma starter. Danny Dorn drove in a run on a sixth-inning single, and Mike Freeman tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Kieschnick capped Reno’s scoring with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning.
Ramirez (2-4) picked up the win for the Rainiers, giving up three runs on eight hits through six frames.
The second game of the four-game series is set for Friday at Aces Ballpark. The contest will be a pitching rematch of July 3, with Reno’s Charles Brewer (4-7, 6.12 ERA) looking to avenge a loss to Tacoma’s Taijuan Walker (4-1, 3.97). Brewer enters the game just 6 2/3 innings away from setting the Aces’ all-time mark for innings pitched. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.