In golf parlance, the 51s have been hitting plenty of fairways and greens since getting off to a slow start.
But after winning eight of their last nine games and 26 of 35, Las Vegas shanked one off the tee Sunday in a 12-5 loss to Reno at Cashman Field.
“Every once in a while, you have to chalk it up to a mulligan and move forward and go get ’em tomorrow,” manager Marty Brown said. “We’ve been playing good baseball. They’re playing together as a team now whereas earlier in the year it was kind of one-for-all and one-for-all.”
Right-hander Chris Schwinden, who the Blue Jays claimed on waivers from the New York Mets on Saturday, allowed eight runs on eight hits in three innings as the 51s fell into an 8-1 hole.
Former Las Vegas first baseman Mike Jacobs launched a three-run homer to cap a six-run third inning, and ex-51s catcher Ryan Budde had a three-run double for the Aces (32-26), who finished with 14 hits and ended Las Vegas’ four-game winning streak.
Moises Sierra, Adam Lind and Yan Gomes each had two hits and an RBI for the 51s (32-25), and 37-year-old designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero went 1-for-5 in his second game for Las Vegas.
Guerrero, expected to soon join the Blue Jays, grounded out to shortstop in the first and third, flied to center in the fifth, singled and scored in the seventh and struck out looking in the ninth. The nine-time All-Star, who is 2-for-10 with a double in his first foray to Triple A, is slated to start in left field today.
“He’s getting his timing back,” 51s hitting coach Chad Mottola said. “He’s just making sure he’s where he wants to be. I don’t think he’s grinding away yet. He’s just kind of feeling around.
“After a couple days here, hopefully, when Toronto needs him, he’s ready.”
Mottola said Guerrero has had a positive influence on the team.
“He’s great to have around because he doesn’t have the big ego,” he said. “He just wants to be part of it, and he’ll help the Blue Jays out soon.”
Sierra, who like Guerrero hails from the Dominican Republic, is doing a solid impression of the former American League Most Valuable Player. Sierra, a strong-armed right fielder, had his first career three-homer game Friday at Tucson, was 4-for-4 with a homer in Saturday’s 6-5 home win over Reno and was 2-for-4 with a RBI double Sunday.
“We just opened up his stance a little bit and it really freed him up,” Mottola said. “He’s got probably the most raw power in the organization, so we’ve been trying to find ways to bring it out of him. Hopefully he keeps this going.”
■ NOTE – Toronto traded 51s infielder Ruben Gotay to the Atlanta Braves for cash. Gotay hit .346 with 14 RBIs in 22 games for Las Vegas.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-383-0354.RENO 12
LAS VEGAS 5
■ KEY: Mike Jacobs crushed a three-run homer to cap the Aces’ six-run third against 51s newcomer Chris Schwinden, who allowed eight runs and eight hits.
■ NEXT: Aces (RHP Charles Brewer) at 51s (RHP Andrew Carpenter), 7:05 p.m. today, KBAD-AM (920)