A two-run single by Rafael Ortega carried the Salt Lake Bees to a 4-3 victory over the Reno Aces on Tuesday night at Greater Nevada Field. Trailing 2-1, the visitors plated three runs against right-hander Shelby Miller (@ShelbyMiller19), who was handed his first loss in five starts for Reno.
The Aces (62-56) squandered another early 2-0 lead and fell 7.5 games back of first-place Tacoma with the defeat, their largest deficit since May 22.
Salt Lake (55-60) chipped away at Reno’s advantage, scoring once in the third on three singles and an error. The third single – off the bat of Daniel Nava – kicked off the glove of Aces right fielder Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19), allowing Brendan Ryan, who had stopped at third, to score on the play.
Two innings later, the Bees tallied three runs on three hits and a walk. Anthony Bemboom worked a one-out free pass and Ryan followed with a double, setting up Ortega’s go-ahead single. The Bees’ leadoff man then swiped second and scored two pitches later on Nava’s third hit of the night, pushing Salt Lake’s lead to 4-2.
Reno’s greatest threat over the final four frames came in the eighth, but the Aces had to settle for one run after facing three separate pitchers in the inning. Ildemaro Vargas (@ildemaro_tigre) singled and took second on a wild pitch to start the rally against Geoff Broussard. The speedster eventually moved to third on a throwing error by Ryan at short and scored in the ensuing at-bat when Kyle Jensen (@TheKJensen42) reached safely on a fielder’s choice to third.
The rally continued with an Ed Lucas (@ELuke21) single, but southpaw Tyler DeLoach struck out Zach Borenstein – pinch-hitting for Todd Glaesmann (@toddglaesmann22) – on a 3-2 curveball to end the threat.
Carlos Rivero (@Carlos_Rivero3) notched his second single of the game with one out in the ninth, but Dan Rohlfing (@DanRohlfing) grounded into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play, sealing Javy Guerra’s 10th save and second in as many nights.
In the first, Vargas singled and scored on a triple by Haniger. Jensen then made it 2-0 with a groundout, securing his 100th RBI of 2016, joining Jamie Romak and Peter O’Brien as the only players in franchise history with 100-plus RBI in a single season. His run-scoring fielder’s choice in the eighth gave him 101, moving him ahead of Romak’s 100 from 2015 while pulling him within six of O’Brien’s franchise-record 107, also set last year.
Miller (3-1) took the loss after allowing four runs – three earned – on eight hits and one walk with eight strikeouts over six innings. His final six punchouts were all of the looking variety. Troy Scribner (2-1) bested Miller with six innings of three-hit, two-run ball.
The Aces and Bees conclude their season series with the finale of a four-game set on Wednesday night. First pitch from Greater Nevada Field is set for 7:05 p.m. PT. Reno will send left-hander Edwin Escobar (5-3, 4.54) to the bump, opposite Bees righty Kyle McGowin (5-9, 6.26).