It was a pitcher’s duel in Reno until Ketel Marte’s two-run home run in the sixth inning broke open a tie game and sent the 51s to a 4-1 loss Sunday.
Reno’s Frank Duncan (5-4) and 51s starter Ricky Knapp (2-6) allowed one run each until the Aces took control in the sixth. Oswaldo Arcia also scored in the inning, after he hit a triple and then came home on a throwing error by second baseman Gavin Cecchini.
The victory gave the Aces (35-22) a split of the four-game series with the 51s (23-34).
Even though he took the loss, 51s manager Pedro Lopez was impressed by what he saw from Knapp.
“He threw the ball well,” Lopez said.
Lopez gave credit to Duncan for the 51s hitting struggles.
“They had good pitching today,” he said. “He kept us off balance.”
In the third inning, Aces catcher Hank Conger hit a pop fly, which was lost in the sun, and landed for a double. After Duncan hit into a groundout to advance Conger to third base, second baseman Ildemaro Vargas hit a sacrifice fly that scored Conger for a 1-0 Reno lead.
The 51s tied the game in the sixth when center fielder Brandon Nimmo opened with a double. Shortstop Ahmed Rosario followed with a single as Nimmo advanced to third. First baseman Dominic Smith then grounded out, scoring Nimmo.
But the Aces bats came alive in their half of the sixth behind shortstop Marte’s homer.
Duncan gave up four hits and struck out four in seven innings as he earned the win. Of his 88 pitches, 58 were strikes.
Knapp worked six innings, allowing six hits and four runs (two earned) while striking out two batters. He threw 96 pitches, with 55 being strikes.
“We have to feel good,” Lopez said. “I think we played well, even though today we didn’t swing the bats well. I thought it was a good series. Now we go to Salt Lake and see what we got.”
Who: Las Vegas 51s at Salt Lake Bees
When: 6:05 p.m. Monday
Where: Smith’s Ballpark, Salt Lake City
Starters: Sean Gilmartin (1-2, 6.67 ERA) vs. Luis Diaz (1-3, 7.77 ERA)
Tuesday: Las Vegas at Salt Lake, 6:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Las Vegas at Salt Lake, 6:05 p.m.
Thursday: Las Vegas at Salt Lake, 11:05 a.m.
Friday: Las Vegas at Tacoma, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Las Vegas at Tacoma, 7:05 p.m.
The 51s split their series with the Reno Aces bringing their road record to 11-18 this season.
Contact Jonathan Saxon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @J_Saxon91 on Twitter.