The Reno Aces (@Aces) were unable to secure a series win at Isotopes Park, falling to the Albuquerque Isotopes in a high-scoring, 16-10 affair in front of 6,727 fans Sunday afternoon.
Two big frames by Albuquerque (2-2) – a five-run fourth and a six-run eighth – proved too much to overcome for Reno (2-2), despite the Aces hitting a season-high three home runs.
The Aces grabbed their first of three leads during the game just two pitches in when Jamie Romak launched a Chris Rusin 1-0 fastball over the wall in left-center. But the scoring was far from finished.
Albuquerque answered in the bottom of the first with a Kyle Parker run-scoring double. Reno then responded with three runs in the second on five singles, the last two by Romak and Garrett Weber (@_weber5) which provided the scoring.
Following Joey Wong's RBI single for the Isotopes in the second, Reno extended their advantage to 6-2 in the third behind Yasmany Tomás' (@eltanquetomas) first stateside home run, a two-run blast off of Rusin.
With a four-run cushion, Aces starter Allen Webster (@11webster11) worked a quick third inning but ran into trouble in the fourth. The right-hander faced four batters in the frame and allowed all four to reach – three on hits and one via a walk. Webster exited with a 6-4 lead, but his replacement, Tim Crabbe, couldn't slow the Isotopes' attack. Albuquerque notched three singles off of Crabbe to take their first lead, 7-6.
Down by one, Reno regained their composure, and the lead, with two runs on three more base hits in the sixth. After Weber tied the game at seven on a RBI single, O'Brien followed suit, lining a run-scoring single to center.
However, for the third time, Reno failed to protect their lead.
The Isotopes knotted the game at eight in the bottom of the sixth on a pinch-hit home run by Brandon Barnes, and one inning later, pinch-hitter Ben Paulsen cleared the wall against left-hander Matt Reynolds (0-1) with a two-run shot, giving Albuquerque the lead for good.
The Aces tallied a run in the eighth to cut the deficit to one and had a chance for much more, but Cody Ransom grounded into a 5-4-3 double play with the bases loaded, ending the threat.
Against Julio DePaula in the bottom half of the eighth, the Isotopes busted the game wide open with a six-run outburst, minimizing the solo shot hit by catcher Matt Pagnozzi in the ninth.
Albuquerque's Simon Castro (2-0) earned his second win of the series with one scoreless frame in the seventh.
O'Brien's four-hit performance was the first of his career. He is the only Aces player to record a hit in each of the first four games.
Romak's lead-off home run was the first by an Ace since Weber did so last year on July 24 at Salt Lake.
The Aces continue their eight-game road trip tomorrow, opening up a four-game series at El Paso. Reno right-hander Caleb Clay (@CalebClay) is set to start against righty Bryce Morrow.