The 51s stayed within striking distance during Friday night’s game.
But the offense couldn’t come up with big hits in a 4-2 loss to the Reno Aces at Cashman Field.
Taylor Clarke, who beat the 51s (52-80) earlier this month, picked up the win for Reno (75-57), allowing four hits and striking out seven in five innings.
The 51s took a 1-0 lead against Clarke, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ No. 3 prospect, in the first inning on Phillip Evans’ RBI double.
“He kept the ball away from the middle of the plate,” Las Vegas manager Pedro Lopez said. “I think that was the key. He came out, a lot of pitches over the middle of the plate and got hurt, and then after that he started hitting his spots a little better.”
His counterpart, Las Vegas starter Jonathan Albaladejo, pitched well enough to keep the team in the game, though he lost the lead in the third inning as Christian Walker’s double drove in Socrates Brito to tie the score 1-1.
In the fourth, Clarke’s sacrifice fly gave Reno its first lead. In the fifth, Zach Borenstein reached base on an error and scored on Kristopher Negron’s RBI single.
Albaladejo’s night was over after the fifth He allowed three runs, two of them earned.
“I felt like I threw strikes early in the count, and after that they took some good pitches … but other than that I felt pretty good,” Albaladejo said.
After he left, Las Vegas chipped away in the sixth. The inning started out promisingly for the 51s with Evans’ triple and a walk to Travis Snider.
Jayce Boyd followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 3-2.
But the next batter, Xorge Carrillo, flied to left and Snider was thrown out easily trying to get to third.
That double play was a key point in the game, stunting a potential opportunity for Las Vegas.
“It’s just a bad read in that situation. I’m OK with him tagging there, but I think that Travis has just got to have his head (up) to see whether the throw’s going to be a bad throw and he can advance to third, but in the case tonight, he just had his head down all the way,” Lopez said. “It is what it is. It’s one of those decisions that base runners make on their own and hopefully he learns from it.”
Negron had an RBI single in the seventh to account for the final margin.
“Just unfortunately the bats didn’t come through tonight, but I thought overall offensively we put ourselves in good situations, had good at-bats and just couldn’t get the big hit with men in scoring position,” Lopez said.
Who: Reno Aces at 51s
When: 7:05 p.m. Saturday
Where: Cashman Field
Starters: Braden Shipley (6-6, 6.06 ERA), Aces, vs. Donovan Hand (4-5, 7.73 ERA)
Sunday: Reno at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Monday: Las Vegas at Sacramento, 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday: Las Vegas at Sacramento, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Las Vegas at Sacramento, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: Las Vegas at Sacramento, 7:05 p.m.
Longtime 51s outfielder Travis Taijeron was scratched from Friday’s lineup and is expected to be called up for his major league debut. The Mets have seen two outfielders — Michael Conforto and Yoenies Cespedes — go down with injuries in the past two days.
Contact Betsy Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.