51s starter Seth Lugo left Tuesday’s game in position for a win.
But the two-run lead he left with quickly unraveled, as the Las Vegas bullpen gave up seven runs in two innings in a 10-6 Pacific Coast League loss to the host Reno Aces at Greater Nevada Field.
After Lugo tied the score 1-1 in the second with a single, the 51s took a 2-1 lead in the inning on Dilson Herrera’s first RBI single of the night. They scored once in the fourth on another Herrera single and two in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead.
Lugo allowed a run in both the fifth and sixth but still had a quality start, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and one walk in six innings. But immediately after he left, the Aces teed off on three 51s relievers.
Zack Thornton (0-2) gave up a leadoff double to begin the seventh inning, and things didn’t get much better from there. He coughed up four runs on five hits and a walk in the inning as the Aces took a 7-5 lead.
“Really Lugo threw well, and Thornton came in and did not pitch well at all,” Las Vegas manager Wally Backman said. “Did not locate any of his pitches, was missing with everything. Zack’s a guy that we’re supposed to be able to count on in that situation right there.”
The 51s’ bullpen was short-handed for the series opener. Jeff Walters was designated for assignment Tuesday, and Josh Edgin, one of the team’s most reliable relievers, was unavailable.
Edgin, who had Tommy John surgery last year, went to New York to get his left elbow checked out because he “has a little soreness,” Backman said.
“He’s healthy, he can pitch, but for his own frame of mind, he wanted to get it checked out, so that’s why he went,” Backman said.
Backman turned to Stolmy Pimentel, his most rested reliever, in the eighth after a Brandon Nimmo home run in the top of the inning cut the deficit to 7-6.
Pimentel, an undesirable option for a close game, walked the two batters he faced and was yanked, as the 51s hoped closer Paul Sewald could keep the deficit to one run.
But Sewald, who has been touched up recently, allowed two hits and both inherited runners and one of his own to score.
“The bullpen gave it up,” Backman said. “Guys we count on weren’t able to get the job done tonight.”
Who: Las Vegas 51s at Reno Aces
When: 7:05 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Greater Nevada Field
Starters: Duane Below (4-3, 3.70 ERA), 51s, vs. Kyle Drabek (3-3, 5.27 ERA)
Thursday: Las Vegas at Reno, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: Las Vegas at Reno, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Tacoma at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Tacoma at Las Vegas, 12:05 p.m.
Monday: Tacoma at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Infielder Matt Reynolds rejoined the 51s on Tuesday and was in the lineup after a brief call-up with the New York Mets. WithJames Loney joining the Mets, the team optioned Eric Campbell to Triple A, and he will join the 51s this week. To makespace on the 40-man roster, the Mets designated 51s reliever Jeff Walters for assignment. Walters was 0-2 with a 9.27 ERAin 23 games with the 51s this season. Also, the 51s put catcher Jeff Glenn on the disabled list and activated outfielder RogerBernadina (oblique). Las Vegas manager Wally Backman said Glenn has a shin contusion.