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Aviators Top 10: Salt Lake tosses zeros at LV Ballpark

Updated May 29, 2021 - 5:06 pm

A weekly look at what’s making news for (or against) the Aviators:

1. Total zeros

The Aviators were held to one hit by three Salt Lake pitchers and lost 5-0 on May 23 — the first time in 79 games at Las Vegas Ballpark they were shut out. Two days later, they were blanked again, this time 12-0.

2. Packy man

The Salt Lake pitcher who no-hit the Aviators for 7⅔ innings was Packy Naughton, who started the season with the Rocket City Trash Pandas. In other words, the standing ovation Naughton received upon being replaced was not exactly anticipated.

3. All for Naughton

The combined one-hitter was only the second time in the 38-year history of Las Vegas’ Triple-A franchise that it was held to a solitary safety. As Aviators manager Fran Riordan said in giving Naughton his propers for keeping the baseball from flying into the swimming pool in hitter friendly Las Vegas: “A no-hitter is pretty much the furthest thing you could ever imagine happening in this ballpark.”

4. Uniform behavior

The defeat on Tuesday was just the second time in nine outings the Aviators were beaten while wearing their Reyes de Plata uniforms. Prior to being shut out, they had outscored their opponents 84-46 while sporting togs celebrating Las Vegas’ Hispanic culture and mining past.

5. Adell’s biggest hits

Salt Lake slugger and former Angels first-round draft pick Jo Adell hit six home runs in the first five games of the recent home series before the Aviators limited him to a bloop single on getaway day. The Bees outhomered the Aviators 19-6 in the six games.

6. Luzardo pitches in

A’s left-hander Jesus Luzardo, who made dubious news after breaking a finger in his pitching hand while playing a video game, joined the Aviators for a rehab assignment Thursday at Sacramento. He allowed one hit in his 25-pitch, 1⅔-inning stint before being sent to the clubhouse where, hopefully, the Donkey King controller was out of reach.

7. Major improvement

In two career starts for the Aviators, former Yankees first-round draft pick James Kaprielian allowed 14 hits in 8⅔ innings. Since being recalled by the parent A’s, the big right-hander has allowed 10 hits in 17⅔ innings with 19 strikeouts and is 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA.

8. Final judgment

Las Vegas Ballpark has advanced to the finals of Ballpark Digest’s 2021 Best of MiLB Ballparks Triple-A fan-vote contest against Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers. To cast a vote for the defending champions (or even Huntington Park) visit: https://tinyurl.com/ydo4vz7r.

9. Baseball in 17 syllables

Johnny Doskow, longtime broadcaster for the Sacramento River Cats and the Aviators’ opponent in the current six-game series, has authored a book of haiku — short poetry consisting of three lines and 17 syllables — inspired by life in the minor leagues and 34 games in the majors when he was called up to the A’s radio booth. Wrote Doskow:

walking from hotel

knew it was temporary

savored every game

10. Aviators quick quiz

Who did Morganna “The Kissing Bandit” plant a smooch on during the 1990 Pacific Coast League All-Star Game at Cashman Field: A: Juan Gonzales B: Biff Pocoroba C: Eddie Williams D: Don Logan.

The answer is C: Eddie Williams, a former all-star third baseman for the Las Vegas Stars. Gonzalez hit a ball off the light tower in left field for the Oklahoma City 89ers during the home run derby; Pocoroba was a backup catcher for the Atlanta Braves; Logan was and still is the Las Vegas team president — and swears he had nothing to do with Morganna running onto the field.

— Ron Kantowski

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