The Reno Aces got home runs from Cody Ransom and Jamie Romak, and Aaron Blair tossed eight brilliant innings to lead the Aces to a 5-2 win over the Sacramento River Cats Tuesday night at Raley Field.
Blair has thrown at least six innings in 11 consecutive starts – an Aces franchise record. The right-hander allowed one run on four hits, walked a pair, and struck out five. The win improved his record to 7-2 while he lowered his ERA to 3.28. Blair and River Cats starter Nik Turley kept both teams off the scoreboard through the first three innings. At one point in the early innings, Blair retired ten consecutive batters.
Romak sparked a rally in the fourth inning with a leadoff double, his 41st of the season. Turley struck out Peter O’Brien for the first out, but would not have the same result against Ransom. The veteran shortstop drilled the first pitch he saw from Turley out to left-center for a two-run homer to give the Aces a 2-0 lead.
Back-to-back walks issued by Turley got him in trouble in the fifth. With one out, Danny Worth and Nick Evans drew free passes to put a pair of runners on for Romak. The left fielder launched a 2-0 pitch way out of Raley Field for a 3-run home run and a 5-0 lead.
The home run for Romak was his team-leading 26th of the year. He has 98 RBI, a new Aces single-season record. It eclipses the mark of 97 RBI Mike Jacobs set in 2014.
Meanwhile, Blair was cruising along. He closed the fourth and fifth innings with strikeouts, and retired the side in order in the sixth.
It was in the seventh when Sacramento got on the board. Third baseman Brandon Hicks hit a one-out solo homer to cut the deficit to 5-1.
Blair was done after eight innings and 91 pitches in favor of Kaleb Fleck. The right-hander allowed a solo shot to Jarrett Parker to start the bottom of the ninth, but struck out two of the next three, including Hicks to end it.
The Aces out-hit the River Cats, 8-5, led by multi-hit games from Ransom, Romak and Danny Worth.
Game three of the four-game set is scheduled for Wednesday night at Raley Field. Right-hander Archie Bradley (0-0, 3.24) starts for the Aces against right-hander Edwin Quirarte (0-0, 0.00) for the River Cats. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.