For six innings — the length of both their outings — Jake Buchanan and Mitch Atkins mostly quieted the opposing offense.
But Buchanan’s Aces wound up getting the best of Atkins’ 51s, though Atkins, for the third straight game, certainly pitched well enough for a win.
Las Vegas lost the second of the four-game set 5-3 to Reno on Tuesday night at Cashman Field.
Buchanan, who pitched for the Cincinnati Reds earlier this season before being designated for assignment and signng a minor-league deal with Arizona, held the 51s hitless for five of the six innings he pitched, including the first four.
“I think we hit him well. There were a lot of hard hit balls right at people,” manager Pedro Lopez said. “I thought that we swung the bats well; just unfortunately couldn’t find holes. I thought the approach was good. I thought that we hit the ball hard and it was just his night tonight.”
Phillip Evans, leading off the fifth, collected the first hit of the game against Buchanan.
After Evans, the next three batters — Josh Rodriguez, Xorge Carrillo and Victor Cruzado — all singled. Carrillo’s single drove in both Evans and Rodriguez and gave the 51s a lead.
Las Vegas (43-73) fell behind after John Ryan Murphy’s home run in the fifth inning off of Atkins.
The Aces (67-49) regained that lead in the top of the sixth, as the first two batters reached base and a Kristopher Negron double drove them in.
“I thought that Mitch did a really good job,” Lopez said. “Unfortunately he made two mistakes up in the zone with two curveballs. One of them was hit for a home run and the other one hit for a double down the line but other than that I thought he did a really good job. He kept us in the game and located pitches well. “
That was it for Atkins, who gave up three runs in his six innings while striking out four.
“I thought it was good. A solid outing,” Atkins said. “It wasn’t as clean as the last few but I thought I did a good job of battling and getting out of trouble.”
After a scoreless inning from Kyle Regnault, Alberto Baldonado surrendered a two-run blast to Christian Walker in the top of the eighth inning.
Gavin Cecchini got one run back with a solo home run of his own but Walker’s home run wound up being the difference maker in the loss as the 51s couldn’t couldn’t capitalize on late opportunities in the eighth and ninth innings.
“Tonight in the ninth inning we were one hit from tying the game. Maybe two hits away from winning it,” Lopez said. “As long as you bring the tying run up to the plate or the winning run up to the plate in the ninth inning, I feel like it’s a good game and I thought that tonight was a good game.”
Who: Reno Aces at Las Vegas 51s
When: 7:05 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Cashman Field
Starters: Taylor Clarke (0-1, 14.40 ERA) vs. Jonathan Albaladejo (1-0, 0.47 ERA)
Thursday: Reno at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: Las Vegas at El Paso, 6:05 p.m.
Saturday: Las Vegas at El Paso, 6:05 p.m. PT
Sunday: Las Vegas at El Paso, 5:05 p.m. PT
Monday: Las Vegas at El Paso, 6:05 p.m. PT
Right-hander Jonathan Albaladejo, Wednesday’s starter, has given up just one run in 19 1/3 innings since joining the 51s from the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent league team.
Contact Betsy Helfand at email@example.com. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.