As a member of the Reno Aces for parts of the last four seasons, Zach Borenstein has spent his fair share of time tormenting the 51s at the plate.
In two games last August, the outfielder went off for six hits, four of which were home runs, and 11 RBIs against Las Vegas.
On Sunday, Borenstein was on the other side, delivering a little bit of payback against his former teammates with a walk-off double to send the 51s to a 4-3 victory over Reno at Cashman Field.
“It’s just fun to see those guys,” Borenstein said. “Honestly, you compete the same way against everybody, but it gives you a little bit of extra to come to the field that day (when) you’re going to see so many faces that I know and people that I’m close with, too.”
Borenstein hit a two-out double off reliever Neftali Feliz, who had given up hits to Jose Lobaton and Cody Asche earlier in the inning.
“(I was) not trying to do too much knowing that Feliz has got really good stuff,” Borenstein said. “Really, really hard fastball and electric offspeed stuff. Kind of just slow it down as much as I could and just be ready for anything in the zone to hit and he made me chase on the first one and I just tried to stay focused with the approach.”
His late-inning heroics helped the 51s complete a comeback in a game they had never held the lead in.
Aces (34-42) outfielder Socrates Brito, the league’s top hitter, had given Reno a lead in the fourth inning with a three-run blast off starter Drew Gagnon.
Those were the only runs Gagnon gave up in his seven-inning outing. He gave up just four hits and struck out five in the no-decision.
“He was supposed to pitch tomorrow. He came (and) threw a side yesterday. The kid’s ready to go. He doesn’t want to come out of the game now,” manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “He competes as good as anybody here and it’s unfortunate the record doesn’t show.”
Gagnon is 0-3 this season, but he has recorded three straight quality starts. On Sunday, the 51s (33-43) couldn’t give him much run support against Matt Koch.
“He had a good changeup and fastball on the same plane, they kind of looked similar, getting us to chase early,” DeFrancesco said. “Later on, we worked the count a little bit, scored a couple runs.”
Koch wound up throwing 6⅔ innings and gave up two runs as the 51s scored in the seventh on a Christian Colon two-run shot.
Las Vegas scored again in the eighth inning after reliever Randall Delgado loaded the bases with three walks. He minimized the damage by allowing just a Patrick Kivlehan sacrifice fly, but it was enough to the game and set the stage for Borenstein to win it an inning later.
With the victory, the 51s will head to Tacoma winners of five of their last six games.
“We’re playing some good baseball,” Borenstein said. “We’re kind of putting it together. We’re pitching, playing defense and getting some timely hits as in the past sometimes, we’d put up a bunch of runs and get outslugged and our pitchers would hold the teams to two to three runs and we’d get shutout so right now we’re just kind of clicking.”