After watching reliever Jared Miller walk the bases loaded in the seventh inning, Reno manager Greg Gross turned to Joey Krehbiel to face Las Vegas slugger Peter Alonso with two outs, hoping to get out of the jam.
Krehbiel didn’t fare much better.
The righty walked Alonso to force in a run which wound up being the difference in the 51s’ 5-4 victory over the Aces on Saturday night at Greater Nevada Field.
The game had been back-and-forth up until that point.
The Aces (50-50) took the first lead of the game in the first inning with a run off P.J. Conlon.
Two innings later, the 51s (47-53) responded with two, thanks to RBI singles from Christian Colon and Jeff McNeil.
But Reno quickly matched that with two of its own to grab the lead back.
And in the sixth, after the 51s had scored on an Alonso sacrifice fly and Luis Guillorme run-scoring single to take the lead, Reno quickly tied it up in the bottom of the frame with a single run.
That jam in the sixth ended P.J. Conlon’s night. The lefty rebounded from one of his worst outings of the year — which was his first start back from the majors — by tossing 5⅔ innings and giving up four runs, three earned.
“Just trying to get back into the routine. It’s not easy, when they go up and then they don’t pitch much and then they come back and start. Sometimes it’s difficult for a lot of young pitchers so hopefully this will get him back on track,” manager Tony DeFrancesco said.
Reliever Kyle Regnault helped bail him out of the jam, getting Christian Walker, last year’s Pacific Coast League MVP, to strike out, stranding runners on the corners.
Regnault wound up tossing 1⅓ scoreless innings and Gerson Bautista threw two scoreless innings of his own to finish off the game. Bautista struck out five in his outing.
“I think Bautista, the way he threw the ball at the end of the game, I thought that was the key to the game right there,” DeFrancesco said.
It was Bautista’s first save and helped save a thin bullpen.
“(He) dominated. Power fastball, good slider, (had) good poise,” DeFrancesco said. “You could see he elevated his game a little bit in the situation of the game. “
The victory puts the 51s in a position to possibly take the series with a win on Saturday which would help salvage a road trip that started out with three losses to Salt Lake.
“Trying to win every series is the goal. It seems like if our starting pitcher gives us a chance, we’ve got plenty of offense to score runs,” DeFrancesco said. “The goal right now is to get to .500 and until we do that, it’s going to be an uphill battle going all the way out so we’ve got to put something together here. We’ve got a nice homestand coming and we’ve just got to play well.”