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51s drop series finale to Sacramento

Wednesday night, the 51s were facing an uphill climb.

Down 5-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth, Las Vegas charged back with three runs, earning itself its first walk-off win of the season.

The 51s were down 5-3 heading into the ninth on Thursday night, but the similarities stopped there as they fell by that same score to Sacramento, concluding their homestand with a series split.

Las Vegas actually owned an early lead — scoring two runs in the first inning on a Ty Kelly single after Sacramento had scored a run of its own in the top of the inning.

The 51s (11-17) hung onto that lead until the fourth when a Jeff Arnold double drove in Chase d’Arnaud to tie it up.

Inn the sixth, for the third time in two nights, Chris Shaw, the Giants’ No. 2 prospect per MLBPipeline, took a 51s pitcher deep.

This time it was Chris Flexen and it gave the River Cats (13-14) a permanent lead.

“He’s got a good swing,” Flexen said. “It’s just about exploiting the holes and unfortunately I left one right down the middle for him, belt high. I made a mistake and he capitalized on it.”

Flexen finished his night after six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. He struck out five and walked none.

“I thought I had pretty good fastball command,” Flexen said. “I thought I mixed speeds and threw offspeed pitches for strikes. A few of them caught too much plate and those are the ones they got runs on.”

His offense, meanwhile, wasn’t doing much against Sacramento starter Casey Kelly, who gave up just two runs over six innings.

He retired the last seven batters he faced in his start.

“He had pretty good velocity. He kind of elevated the fastball a little bit and we were chasing way too many early and we made some easy outs,” manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “We really didn’t let him grind it out at all but we did have an opportunity. We left seven guys on base. He definitely kept us off balance and we didn’t really get good swings off him.”

After the starters departed, Sacramento scored a pair of runs off Matt Purke in the eighth inning. One scored on a wild pitch — which was preceded by a passed ball and an error — and the other on a d’Arnaud RBI single.

Las Vegas scored a run of its own in the eighth as Patrick Biondi drove in Bryce Brentz to cut the lead to three before the 51s were sent down in order in the ninth to conclude the night.

“We just didn’t get any big hits today,” Tony DeFrancesco said. “We had a few opportunities to score and their pitching kind of shut us down tonight.”

Contact Betsy Helfand at bhelfand@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.

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