Jake Buchanan didn’t allow a hit until the seventh inning.
The Reno starter cruised through six innings, seemingly with ease, but Buchanan became a tough-luck loser as the 51s scored a pair of runs in the seventh to take a 2-1 victory over the Aces at Greater Nevada Field.
“He pitched for me a few years ago in Oklahoma City and Fresno. Typical sinker, slider guy,” manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “He was locating his offspeed and we didn’t get many good swings off him early but we got to him in the seventh inning and some days are like that.”
Rehabbing Todd Frazier (hamstring) broke up Buchanan’s no-hit bid to lead off the seventh, singling to center.
After the next batter, Dominic Smith, doubled, two runs scored when Phillip Evans sent a ball toward first base and first baseman Christian Walker flipped a throw behind Buchanan. The play was ruled a hit and an error and gave the 51s (23-33) their only two runs of the night.
Those runs turned out to be all they needed as the 51s rebounded from Thursday night’s 20-3 shellacking.
“We just needed a very competitive game and we got a good one today,” DeFrancesco said.
After giving up 20 runs on 21 hits on Thursday — and 28 runs in the first two games against the Aces (24-32) — it looked like it might be more of the same when Reno leadoff hitter Rey Fuentes homered off of 51s’ starter Cody Martin and the next batter, Cesar Puello, doubled.
But Martin worked himself out of multiple jams in his outing, giving up just the run on five hits while striking out eighth in his five innings.
“The game started with a home run and a double off Martin, but after that he really settled down,” DeFrancesco said. “He struck out eight batters, gave us five quality innings. That was an excellent job by a starter. We didn’t have (that) in a while.”
Rehabbing Anthony Swarzak (oblique) followed, pitching a scoreless sixth inning despite giving up a hit, a walk and three wild pitches.
“You’ve got to remember, he hasn’t pitched since opening day. The other day at home that was his first time seeing a live batter. He made some pitches. He got some balls in the dirt,” DeFrancesco said. “(Catcher Colton) Plaia probably could have blocked a few of them a bit better but it didn’t happen.”
Swarzak is scheduled to make one more rehab outing on Sunday.
Drew Smith tossed a pair of perfect innings in the seventh and eighth and Jacob Rhame, in his first outing since coming back from the big leagues, picked up his third save of the season.
“Our bullpen was really good. Smitty threw the ball well again and then Rhame came in and shut them down in the ninth so (I’m) real pleased with that,” DeFrancesco said.