For the third straight night, the 51s dug a deep hole early on. And for the second straight night, the hole was too deep for Las Vegas to climb all the way out.
On Wednesday night, the 51s fell behind 5-0 after three innings and eventually lost 5-4 to the Iowa Cubs (17-21), marking Las Vegas’ 12th loss in 15 games. The 51s lost to Iowa on Tuesday night, 8-7 in 10 innings, after falling behind by five runs in the first two innings.
The 51s had plenty of opportunities to win both games.
They nearly completed the comeback Wednesday in the ninth inning, scoring once before stranding Brandon Nimmo, the tying run, 90 feet away.
“It’s tough as an offense to come back from big leads by the other team, but I’ve been really proud of this team for the past few nights of being able to come back and make games out of it,” Nimmo said. “I really think that speaks more to the resiliency of the guys and the common approach of not giving any at-bats away.”
Wilfredo Boscan made his first start since May 1, a game which he left early with left knee tendinitis, according to manager Pedro Lopez.
Boscan entered the game on a 60-65 pitch count. He cruised through the first inning but the second and third innings were a disaster. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits and one walk. He struck out two.
“He had a really good first inning, looked sharp, and then after that (he) just started working behind in the count,” Lopez said. “Maybe he was trying to be too fine with pitches. Maybe the umpire squeezed him some, I don’t know. It’s kind of hard to tell from over there but he started working behind and then made some mistakes up in the zone.”
Ben Rowen relieved Boscan and threw one pitch, inducing an inning-ending double play.
Blake Beavan, who has been starting for the 51s (16-24) since he was signed from the Mexican League, followed Rowen and tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings, but he left the game in the seventh inning after deflecting a ball with his hand.
Lopez said Beavan’s hand was bruised but he should be good for his next outing.
Thanks to the bullpen and some solid defense, the 51s kept the damage to a minimum and remained in striking distance.
In the second inning, Gavin Cecchini fielded a grounder and then cut down on Taylor Davis trying to score.
And in the fifth, Desmond Jennings threw out Bijan Rademacher from right field at the plate.
But though their defense prevented a pair of runs from scoring, the offense couldn’t scrape together enough to come back.
The 51s left 10 runners on base and went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
“We hit some balls hard toward the end of the game. … We just couldn’t get that big hit and too many strike outs,” Lopez said. “(We) did a much better job at the end of the game. We had the tying run at third base, the winning run at the plate so whenever that happens I guess it’s always good. But I felt like it should never have gotten to that point.”
Who: Iowa Cubs at 51s
When: 7:05 p.m. Thursday
Where: Cashman Field
Starters: Jake Buchanan (1-2, 5.71 ERA), Iowa, vs. Josh Smoker (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Friday: Las Vegas at New Orleans, 5 p.m.
Saturday: Las Vegas at New Orleans, 4 p.m.
Sunday: Las Vegas at New Orleans, 11 a.m.
Monday: Las Vegas at New Orleans, 5 p.m.
Tuesday: Las Vegas at Round Rock, 5:05 p.m.
Starting pitcher Wilfredo Boscan (knee) was activated from the disabled list Wednesday, and infielder L.J. Mazzilli was sent to Double-A Binghamton to clear a roster spot. Boscan started Wednesday and allowed five runs in 2 1/3 innings.
Contact Betsy Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.