The Reno Aces lost for the seventh time in their last eight games Thursday night, falling 4-3 to the Las Vegas 51s at Cashman Field. Three throwing errors – two by shortstop Mike Freeman in the second – resulted in a pair of unearned runs which gave the home team the lead for good.
For the second straight game, the Aces struck first with a run in the top of the first inning. But like Thursday's affair, an eventual 7-2 loss, the bats went cold thereafter.
Facing right-hander Matthew Bowman, Freeman tripled with one away in the first and trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Peter O'Brien.
The 51s wasted little time at the plate themselves, tying the game in the home half with a mini two-out rally. Matt Reynolds doubled off of Vidal Nuño (2-2) and scored moments later on a single by Alex Castellanos.
Similar to left-hander Steven Matz in game one of the series, Bowman settled in while his offense provided the necessary run support.
Reno (9-13) put two men on in the top of the second thanks to two walks by Bowman, but Cody Ransom grounded out to second to end the scoring threat.
Las Vegas (14-8) grabbed the lead in the bottom half, despite notching just one hit in the inning. Johnny Monell – who finished 3-for-4 – singled to start the frame. A foul-out and fielder's choice followed, but Bowman reached successfully on Freeman's first miscue, moving Monell to third. Danny Muno then walked to load the bases for Wilfredo Tovar who reached safely on an infield single to short. On the play, Bowman raced to the plate after Freeman's throw skipped past Nick Evans at first base.
With the score in favor of Las Vegas 3-1, both Nuño and Bowman worked efficiently from the third through the fifth, allowing a combined five baserunners.
Bowman (2-3) was the first to depart, giving way to left-hander Duane Below in the sixth. Against Below, the Aces recorded three hits, but none of them were strung together. A single in the sixth, a leadoff double in the seventh and another single in the eighth all went to waste, squandering many chances for the Aces to claw their way back.
Nuño lasted six innings before handing over to Tim Crabbe who was eventually tagged for one run in the eighth, a run which proved to be the difference.
Facing newly-promoted right-hander Jon Velasquez, the Aces mustered up a late rally. Danny Worth singled with one away and after Trayvon Robinson kept the game alive with a fielder's choice, Garrett Weber drilled a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right, pulling Reno within one run.
The rally went for naught, however, when Velasquez struck out Jamie Romak to end the game, giving the 51s their eighth consecutive victory.
The four-game series continues with game three Saturday night in Las Vegas. The Aces will send left-hander Justin Marks (2-2, 8.41) to the bump against right-hander Noah Syndergaard (0-0, 4.70). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.