It was just a couple of weeks ago that Jake Buchanan and Mitch Atkins last tangled at Cashman Field.
In that game, both tossed quality starts but Buchanan’s Aces got the best of Atkins’ 51s.
Thursday, the Aces scored four, three earned, runs off Atkins while Buchanan kept the 51s quiet during his outing as the Aces eventually won 6-3 in the first game of the four-game set at Cashman Field.
Buchanan threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his outing Thursday, giving up eight hits.
“He made good pitches. We had chances to score but he made good pitches and got himself out of jams,” manager Pedro Lopez said of Buchanan.
He was pitching with a lead from the beginning as Atkins gave up three runs in the first.
“He was a little inconsistent but I thought that he made pitches when he needed to in order to keep us in pretty good shape,” Lopez said.
Atkins walked the leadoff batter, Ildemaro Vargas, and he eventually came around to score later in the inning on a Zach Borenstein fielder’s choice. The next batter, Kristopher Negron, took a pitch from Atkins out of the park for a two-run home run to pad the early Reno lead.
“I felt pretty good. The first inning, kind of struggled a little bit,” Atkins said. “(I) could have got out of it with limited damaged I just kind of left a pitch and (he) hit a home run but other than that I mean, I’m happy with the way I felt and the way I threw the ball.”
The Aces (74-57) scored one more run — unearned — off Atkins in his five-inning outing, when Ronnie Freeman scored on a Jack Reinheimer sacrifice fly.
The error by Rodriguez was one of three the team made on the night.
“You take away the first half of the ballgame, we made a couple mistakes defensively — a few mistakes defensively — I think the outcome could have been different,” Lopez said.
Reinheimer hurt the 51s (52-79) once more in the sixth inning with a two-run double off reliever Beck Wheeler.
The 51s did strike back later in the game after Buchanan’s exit, scoring three in the seventh inning on a Xorge Carrillo RBI single and a two-run triple high off the wall in center field from the recently-called up Jhoan Urena.
“I thought that overall looking at it the at-bats in the first half versus the at-bats in the second half, the second half they were much better,” Lopez said.
It wasn’t enough, though, as the 51s left 13 runners on base and hit 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
“It’s good pitching. There’s a reason why they’re in the position they’re in right now in the standings. It’s a good ball club,” Lopez said of the first-place Aces. “I thought looking at it, if you look at the stats, we had six walks, five punch outs so it wasn’t so much about having bad at-bats, I think it was more them making good pitches and we weren’t able to take advantage of them.”
Who: Reno Aces at 51s
When: 7:05 p.m. today
Where: Cashman Field
Starters: Taylor Clarke (2-1, 5.96 ERA) vs. Jonathan Albaladejo (1-2, 5.03 ERA)
Saturday: Reno at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Reno at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Monday: 51s at Sacramento, 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday: 51s at Sacramento, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: 51s at Sacramento, 7:05 p.m.
The Mets said pitcher Tyler Pill underwent arthroscopic elbow debridement surgery on Wednesday. Pill was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 4.
The right-hander was 4-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts for the 51s. He also pitched in seven games for the Mets this season.
Contact Betsy Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.