A pair of home runs propelled the North Division-leading Reno Aces (44-26) to a 7-3 Pacific Coast League victory over the 51s (27-43) Sunday at Greater Nevada Field in Reno.
After an uneventful plate appearance by Las Vegas to start the Father’s Day game, Aces center fielder Ketel Marte started the power surge with a two-run homer off 51s starter Wilfredo Boscan (3-4, 4.47 ERA).
Las Vegas manager Pedro Lopez said Boscan battled well during his five innings as he finished with seven hits, four earned runs and three strike outs.
“Taking everything that happened, I thought that he did a good job,” he said. “He gave us a chance to win the ball game. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”
In the second, Las Vegas third baseman Josh Rodriguez launched a solo home run off Aces starter Anthony Banda (6-4, 4.96 ERA) to bring the 51s within 2-1. But Reno catcher Ronnie Freeman countered with a single that scored Zach Borenstein to put the Aces ahead 3-1.
Aces first basemen Christian Walker made the score 5-1 in the fifth with a single that drove in Marte and Vargas.
In the sixth, Jio Meir’s two-run homer brought the 51s back at 5-3. But Reno third baseman Carlos Rivero launched a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the inning, and Freeman later scored the final Aces run on a sacrifice fly by Walker.
The 51s had a rally going in the eighth when Mier took off from third base after a single by pinch hitter Dominic Smith. Home plate umpire John Bostwick initially ruled that Mier beat a close throw by Marte to Freeman, but later overturned the call. Lopez tried to protest to no avail.
“He said that Meir didn’t touch the plate,” he said. “He just missed that call.”
Lopez acknowledged the weakness for Las Vegas this season has been its inconsistency. Whether it’s a strong pitching performance spoiled by poor run support, or a reliever failing to close out the last few innings, something always seems to be missing for the 51s.
The season series with the Aces illustrates those issues. Las Vegas split its first four games with Reno earlier this month in a series where they outscored the Aces 23-22. It has been tough for teams to win at Reno, where the Aces are 23-11 this season.
The 51s will have a chance to even the score on Monday night, and Lopez still has hopes the team can make a run in the second half of the season.
“That’s what we’re striving for,” he said. “Hopefully we can come out tomorrow, win the ball game, and do the same thing on Tuesday. But we got to win one first.”
Who: Las Vegas 51s at Reno Aces
When: 7:05 p.m. Monday
Where: Greater Nevada Field, Reno
Starters: Eric Jokisch (4-3, 5.95 ERA) vs. Ricky Knapp (2-8, 6.04 ERA)
Tuesday: Las Vegas 51s at Reno Aces, 1:05 p.m.
Thursday: Salt Lake Bees at Las Vegas 51s, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: Salt Lake Bees at Las Vegas 51s, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Salt Lake Bees at Las Vegas 51s, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Salt Lake Bees at Las Vegas 51s, 12:05 p.m.
The 51s’ loss to the Reno Aces on Sunday dropped them to 2-4 against their in-state rival this season.
Contact Jonathan Saxon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @J_Saxon91 on Twitter.