O’Koyea Dickson took a strike. And then a ball. Then he fouled off a couple of pitches. Then a pair of balls.
With the count full, he fouled off three more.
At the end of his 10-pitch at-bat, Dickson, pinch hitting in the eighth inning with two runners on, found a pitch he could take a long way — and he didn’t miss it.
Dickson’s 23rd home run of the year — a three-run shot off Kevin McGowan — propelled Oklahoma City to a 8-4 victory over Las Vegas on Sunday night at Cashman Field.
Dickson’s home run wiped away the 51s’ two-run lead.
“You’ve got to give credit to the hitter,” manager Pedro Lopez said. “That’s probably the toughest thing to do is to hit and unfortunately Kevin didn’t make his pitches when he needed to and it reached the 3-2 count and it was kind of predictable. Even though he threw a slider, the hitter did a good job. He fouled it off and then he threw a fastball and he hit it for a three-run home run.”
The game’s final score was not necessarily representative of how close it was throughout, as the Dodgers pulled away with three more runs in the ninth inning.
The 51s (43-71) — after trailing earlier in the game thanks to back-to-back first inning home runs off the bats of Henry Ramos and Edwin Rios — had been leading throughout the middle innings.
Wilfredo Boscan, after giving up those two home runs, had quieted the Dodgers (60-52), giving up just those two runs on seven hits in his 6 1/3 innings.
He got into a little bit of trouble in the seventh, leaving with two on and just one out but reliever Ben Rowen got Tim Locastro to lineout and Phillip Evans made a nice diving play at second to prevent damage.
“He located his pitches well. I thought that after the first inning he did a really good job locating his pitches to both sides of the plate,” Lopez said. “He mixed pitches well. Unfortunately he didn’t come up with a win, but I thought he did an outstanding job for us to win a game.”
Boscan’s zeroes were matched, for a time, by Oklahoma City starter Luke Farrell.
Farrell, who beat the 51s earlier in the year when he was with Omaha, lasted 4 2/3 innings.
With two outs, Farrell gave up singles to Gavin Cecchini and Matt Reynolds before walking Kevin Plawecki to end his outing.
Reliever Joe Broussard walked Travis Taijeron with the bases loaded to cut the score to 2-1 before Josh Rodriguez singled up the middle to give the 51s a lead.
The play was ruled a single and an error on second baseman Drew Maggi and both Reynolds and Plawecki scored, giving Las Vegas the lead.
An inning later, Victor Cruzado hit his sixth home run of the year to give Las Vegas a two-run lead and though the 51s were able to work out of a one-out, two-on jam in the seventh, they couldn’t quite do it again in the eighth.
Alberto Baldonado walked Henry Ramos and after getting Rios to fly out, allowed a single to Trayce Thompson before McGowan came on and surrendered the decisive home run.
“He was just up in the zone. He’s been doing a really good job for us,” Lopez said of McGowan. “I think he deserved a chance to be in that position. He’s done it before and tonight was no different. I felt like we had the guys out there that we needed in order for us to win a ballgame. Just unfortunately it didn’t go our way.”
Who: Reno Aces at Las Vegas 51s
When: 7:05 p.m. Monday
Where: Cashman Field
Starters: Frank Duncan (7-8, 7.01 ERA) vs. Ricky Knapp (6-12, 6.10 ERA)
Tuesday:Reno at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Reno at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: Reno at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: Las Vegas at El Paso, 6:05 p.m. PT
Saturday: Las Vegas at El Paso, 6:05 p.m. PT
The 51s’ longest homestand of the season will continue on Monday with the Reno Aces coming to town. Monday is Value Menu Monday at the ballpark.
Contact Betsy Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.