For a season with as many losses as this one, the 51s still have yet to be shut out at home.
That looked as if it would change Saturday night, as Reno starter Braden Shipley, once a top-100 prospect, shut down the 51s during his outing.
With the bats held quiet for most of the game, the 51s fell 7-3 to the Aces at Cashman Field, scoring only in the ninth inning.
Shipley set the tone, tossing seven scoreless innings while allowing two hits. He said location-wise with all three of his pitches, Saturday was probably the best he’s felt this season.
“Really just my ability to locate my fastball,” Shipley said on what was working for him. “Obviously for me tonight getting ahead of hitters and then throwing my changeup off my fastball and being able to throw my curveball for strikes was big for me tonight. I had all three pitches working, and I was just going after guys.”
The Aces right-hander gave up a single to Victor Cruzado in the first inning but didn’t allow another hit until Travis Snider’s in the seventh.
Shipley walked three — including two in the fourth inning — but a double play between those walks mostly wiped out the threat.
“He worked ahead. His location was off the charts tonight,” 51s manager Pedro Lopez said. “I thought he did a really good job. Kept us to what? Two hits in seven innings, and he did a really good job. You really have to tip your hat because I felt like we never really had a chance.”
He was pitching with a lead the entire night, as Las Vegas starter Donovan Hand allowed a run in each of the first three innings.
In the first, the Aces (75-57) took a lead on an RBI single from Oswaldo Arcia. In the second, John Ryan Murphy hit a solo home run, and in the third, Kristopher Negron’s single drove in the third run.
Hand lasted five innings. Though he gave up nine hits, the damage could have been much worse, as he allowed just those three runs while striking out eight and keeping the score close.
“I thought he battled well. I thought he made some mistakes up in the zone, got hurt, but overall I thought did a good job keeping us in the ballgame,” Lopez said. “Just unfortunately he was going against a good pitcher tonight.”
Shipley also contributed with his bat, hitting an RBI single off Beck Wheeler in the sixth inning.
The Aces added three runs off the Las Vegas bullpen, scoring twice on Zach Borenstein’s home run in the seventh off Kelly Secrest and once on Ildemaro Vargas’ homer in the eighth.
The 51s (52-81) scored three runs in the ninth off David Carpenter.
“The at-bats were good. The outcome is not what you wanted it to be, but whenever you’re facing a good pitcher, that’s what’s going to happen,” Lopez said. “I don’t think it’s so much about the at-bats. I don’t think it’s the approach. I think it’s just he made good pitches and it was his night.”
Contact Betsy Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.