Riding a five-game losing streak entering Tuesday's affair, the Reno Aces finally got over the hump – barely – by snapping their skid with a narrow 3-2 win against the Fresno Grizzlies at Chukchansi Park.
A two-out, two-run double by Trayvon Robinson in the fourth was enough for a wildly effective A.J. Schugel who set a career-high with six walks in five innings. A shaky ninth by Jake Barrett overshadowed excellent work by the relief corps, but the 23-year-old managed to escape a bases-loaded jam for his fourth save.
Facing right-hander Dan Straily (2-1), the Aces grabbed their first lead since April 22 with one run in the third. With two outs, Danny Worth reached on an infield single to third base and moments later, Peter O'Brien continued his torrid start with a run-scoring double to left.
The Aces (9-11) tacked on their final two runs on Robinsin's two-bagger in the fourth, proving to be the deciding blow.
Fresno (11-8) clawed their way back into the game in the fifth, scoring a pair on a sacrifice fly by Preston Tucker and RBI triple by Domingo Santana.
Up 3-2 and in need of insurance, the Aces' bats went cold. Straily retired the side in the fifth, setting up Richard Rodriguez for three perfect innings. James Hoyt then delivered a 1-2-3 ninth.
Reno's bullpen combination of Matt Reynolds, Kevin Munson , Dan Runzler, J.C. Ramirez and Barrett were equally as impressive. It wasn't perfection, but they blanked the Grizzlies over the final four frames.
Reynolds and Munson combined for a perfect sixth before Runzler worked around a leadoff walk in the seventh.
Then in the eighth, things started to get interesting.
Like Reno in Monday's 4-2 loss, Fresno ran themselves out of an inning. Andrew Aplin stole second with two away, but his slide continued past second base, resulting in a rundown between second and third.
Luckily, Ramirez's good fortunes turned over to Barrett in the ninth.
The Aces' closer gave up a leadoff double to Ronald Torreyes, placing the tying run at second with no outs. After a foul-out in deep right moved Torreyes to third, Barrett induced a ground ball to Mike Freeman at second who fired to Blake Lalli at the plate for the tag.
Barrett, one out away from converting the save, suddenly couldn't find the strike zone. He walked Alex Presley and Tucker, loading the bases for slugger Jon Singleton. Barrett fell behind the big first baseman 3-and-0 before painting the outside corner with a fastball. The 3-1 offering was then drilled to the wall in center, but Robinson tracked it down for the final out.
Schugel (1-2) picked up his first Aces win, in large part because of his ability to strand runners in scoring position. Fresno went just 1-for-9 against the righty in those situations and finished 1-for-13 for the game.
The Aces have a travel day Wednesday before opening up a four-game set Thursday night at Las Vegas. Left-hander Vidal Nuño (2-1, 3.60) starts for the Aces against left-hander Steven Matz (2-1, 2.01). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.