Seth Lugo struck out 12 in 6 2/3 strong innings and was backed by three RBI doubles as the 51s held off the New Orleans Zephyrs 5-4 in a Pacific Coast League game Sunday in Metairie, La.
With the victory, coupled with El Paso’s 3-2 loss to Colorado Springs, Las Vegas (71-58) pushed its lead to 1½ games over the Chihuahuas atop the Pacific South Division.
Lugo (2-0), making his third start for the 51s after being promoted from Double-A Binghamton, held New Orleans (51-78) to one run on five hits and no walks, lowering his ERA to 3.06. He threw 59 of his 85 pitches for strikes.
Lugo also doubled in the second inning and scored on Darrell Ceciliani’s two-out double.
Matt Reynolds and Eric Young Jr. hit consecutive two-out RBI doubles in the third, and Eric Campbell hit a two-out solo homer in the fourth to put Las Vegas up 5-0.
The Zephyrs broke through against Lugo in the seventh, when Zack Cox hit a two-out RBI double.
Reliever Chasen Bradford was tasked with protecting a 5-1 lead in the ninth and gave up three runs on four hits and two walks.
Isaac Galloway and Austin Wates sandwiched singles around a fielder’s choice groundout in the ninth, and pinch hitter Austin Nola walked to load the bases.
Donovan Solano’s run-scoring infield single followed, and Reid Brignac hit a two-run double to pull New Orleans within 5-4.
Bradford then walked Tomas Telis to load the bases, and Brady Shoemaker grounded into a game-ending double play.
Solano, Telis and Galloway had two hits apiece for the Zephyrs, who held a 10-7 edge in hits.
New Orleans starter Trevor Williams (0-1) gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits and one walk and struck out five in three innings.
Relievers Blake Logan and Jorge De Leon held the 51s to one hit over the final six innings.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis had two singles and was the lone Las Vegas player with multiple hits.