Following Monday night's nail-biting, series-opening 2-1 victory, the Reno Aces doubled up the El Paso Chihuahuas once more, hanging on for a 4-2 win Tuesday afternoon at Southwest University Park.
Like Caleb Clay in the series opener, Vidal Nuño delivered another terrific performance on the mound. Handed a 2-0 lead before he toed the rubber, the left-hander faced the minimum through three innings. The 27-year-old struck out the side in the third and had five strikeouts one time through the order.
For a red-hot Aces (4-2) offense leading the Pacific Coast League in batting average (.332) entering the day, it took just two batters to find success against El Paso (2-4) left-hander Jason Lane, a member of the Aces' bullpen in 2012. Jamie Romak led off the game with a walk and scored moments later on Danny Dorn's two-run rocket over the wall in right-center.
Up 2-0 through three innings, Nuño surrendered his first baserunner – and run - in the fourth. Abraham Almonte opened the frame with a free pass, and after Nuño rung up Ramiro Pena for his sixth and final punch-out, Tommy Medica singled off of Nuño's hip into right, moving Almonte to third. Brett Wallace followed with a run-scoring double high off the wall in left, pulling the Chihuahuas within one.
The Aces pushed their lead back to two in the sixth, thanks to Nick Evans' second home run of 2015, a deep solo blast to left-center.
El Paso cut their deficit to one again in the bottom half behind another spark atop the order. Almonte lined a double to left and scored on Pena's blooper to right, sending the go-ahead run to the dish. Nuño escaped, however, by inducing a pair of grounders off of Medica and Wallace's bats, the latter a 3-6-3, inning-ending double play.
Clinging to a second one-run advantage, the Aces wasted no time extending their lead back to two. An error by Wallace at third base allowed Danny Worth to reach safely with one out and after Nuño's second sacrifice bunt of the game, Evan Marzilli scored Worth from second with a RBI single to right.
Nuño (2-0, 2.19) returned to the mound for the seventh and worked his fifth 1-2-3 inning. He departed for Dan Runzler with one on and one out in the eighth, and the veteran reliever utilized four pitches to get two quick outs.
After the Aces' Yasmany Tomás, Matt Pagnozzi and Worth all struck out in the ninth, closer Jake Barrett ensured a Reno victory with two strikeouts of his own for his second save in as many games.
Dorn's two-run shot in the first inning was his second home run of 2015. He has recorded at least one RBI in all five games he has started.
The two club's will play game three of the four-game series Wednesday evening. Left-hander Robbie Ray (0-0, 1.50) starts for the Aces against right-hander Aaron Northcraft (0-1, 37.80) of the Chihuahuas. First pitch is scheduled for 5:35 PST.
Following their four-game set at El Paso, the Aces welcome the Isotopes on Friday, April 17, at 6:35 p.m. for the home opener at Aces Ballpark.