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Aviators’ Top 10: Las Vegas now chasing Tacoma atop standings

1. Trumping the Aces

The Aviators defeated Reno 6-3 Thursday to pull within three games of the Aces in the Western Division of Triple-A West. That was good news for Las Vegas. It would have been better news for the Aviators had Reno not hit the skids and fallen out of first place. The Aviators lost 11-5 to the Aces on Friday and trailed new division leader Tacoma by six games entering Saturday night’s game.

2. Stat of the week

Las Vegas pitchers had allowed three runs or fewer in five consecutive games and seven of the past eight before being roughed up for 11 Friday.

3. Fill ‘er up

Friday’s Fireworks Night defeat to Reno attracted a sellout crowd of 9,519. It was the Aviators’ fourth sellout of the season, but attach an asterisk to that because Las Vegas Ballpark wasn’t cleared for full attendance until June 10.

4. Turnstiles keep turning

Thursday’s crowd of 7,060 pushed the Aviators over the million plateau in attendance since Las Vegas Ballpark opened in 2019 and over the 13 million mark in 38 seasons in Southern Nevada.

5. To err is human …

… but five times in one game is a bit much. The Aces committed five errors Thursday, including two on one play that allowed the Aviators’ Nick Allen to go from first base to home on a pickoff attempt.

6. Perez feted

Aviators catcher (and sometimes infielder and outfielder) Carlos Perez batted .370 and homered in five of six games — including a game-winning, ninth-inning blast Sept. 4 at Sugar Land — en route to being named Triple-A West Player of the Week for the second time this season.

7. More from the Schwindy City

Post on Twitter after former Aviators first baseman Frank Schwindel delivered another walk-off victory for the Cubs on Labor Day and collected Chicago’s only two hits, including his 11th homer, in a 6-1 loss Friday to the Giants that raised his batting average to .361: “Major League Baseball is getting hijacked by a fake person whose name apparently is Frank Schwindel.”

8. Kozma goes for a grand

Aviators shortstop Pete Kozma collected his 1,000 minor league hit in Friday’s loss to Reno. The 33-year-old also has 158 major league hits spread over seven seasons.

9. Mexican teams visit

This season’s Mexican Baseball Fiesta is Thursday and Friday at Las Vegas Ballpark. Aguilas de Mexicali meets Naranjeros de Hermosillo at 7 p.m. Aguilas (English translation: Eagles) alumni include John Kruk, Mike Piazza and Fernando Valenzuela. Curt Shilling, Larry Walker and Maury Wills are former Naranjeros (orange growers).

10. Aviators quick quiz

Can you name the former Las Vegas player who competed in the Little League World Series and hit his first major league home run off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw?

Answer: Gavin Cecchini. The former 51s infielder played for South Lake Charles, Louisiana, in the 2006 Little League World Series before homering against Kershaw in 2017.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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