The Aces (78-59) are now within one game of clinching a playoff berth for the first time since 2014 after they split a doubleheader against the Albuquerque Isotopes (65-71) Wednesday evening at Isotopes Park. In the third all-time doubleheader against the Isotopes, each game was decided in extra-inning play and back-and-forth action. Game one was decided 6-4 in Albuquerque's favor, which came on MLB veteran Ryan Howard's walk-off home run. In game two, the Aces notched a 7-6 comeback win supported greatly by Zach Borenstein's grand slam and second home run of the day. With Fresno's late loss, Reno now can secure a playoff spot with a victory or another loss by the Fresno Grizzlies tomorrow.
In game one, after Reno threatened in the top half of the first inning with a double by Ildemaro Vargas but did not score, the Isotopes took full advantage with three runs in the home half. After a leadoff strikeout, Albuquerque bats got to work as Mike Tauchman doubled, Ryan McMahon tripled and Jordan Patterson homered to manufacture an early 3-0 lead. Following two scoreless frames on both sides, the Isotopes struck again in the fourth inning sparked by the team's second triple of the contest by Anthony Bemboom and scored a batter later on Daniel Castro's single to make it a 4-0 ballgame.
The Aces, who had just three hits coming into the top of the sixth, came to life and put up four runs to tie Albuquerque late in the game. After Jack Reinheimer led off and was hit by a pitch, he advanced into scoring position and was plated by Christian Walker's single. After Isotopes' starter Jeff Hoffman exited after his eight-strikeout performance, Borenstein welcomed reliever Zac Rosscup with a two-run home run to minimize the deficit to a run. After Kristopher Negron drew a one-out walk and stole second, Michael Perez, in his first Triple-A game, knocked a double to tie the game at 4-4. But, in the first frame of extra play, it would be Albuquerque who would end action in game one after Howard knocked a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning off of reliever Jared Miller to make it a 6-4 final.
In game two of the twin bill, Albuquerque initiated the scoring first again putting up two runs in the first inning. Reno quickly got within one run after plating one of their own sparked by Negron's leadoff double. Then, again, after the Isotopes added three more runs in the fourth to extend their lead to 5-1, the Aces responded, and in big fashion, when they loaded the bases with one out and Borenstein knocked his second home run of the day and second grand slam of the 2017 campaign to give the Aces the 6-5 advantage.
After the Isotopes tied things up in the sixth and sent the second game into extra innings, the Aces would be the ones coming out on top after Reno plated the go-ahead run. Borenstein started the inning with a triple and, with one out, Evan Marzilli dribbled a grounder to pitcher James Farris (L, 1-3) whose throw to first resulted in an error and pushed a halted Borenstein home safely to take the final lead.
Jimmie Sherfy closed out game two after facing the minimum to record his 20th save of the season and 32nd overall with the Aces to crown him the franchise all-time saves leader.
The Aces continue into the final game of the set at Isotopes Park tomorrow against Albuquerque scheduled for 5:35 p.m. Single-game tickets are still available for the four-remaining regular-season home games over Labor Day weekend. Playoff tickets are also available for reservation by visiting the ticket office or renoaces.com. Potential home playoff games are Wednesday, September 6th, and Thursday, September 7th at Greater Nevada Field, both scheduled for 7:05 p.m.