The 51s built a 5-0 lead in the first 3 1/2 innings Saturday, then had to hold off the hard-charging Memphis Redbirds for a 5-4 Pacific Coast League victory at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tenn.
James Loney had four of Las Vegas’ 15 hits and Wilson Valdez doubled home a pair of runs with two out to cap a three-run second inning as the 51s improved to 25-30.
Eric Stults (5-4) surrendered just four hits and two earned runs to pick up the victory, and Matt Riley recorded his first save despite giving up two runs on a home run by John Rodriguez in the bottom of the ninth that allowed the Redbirds to close to within 5-4.
Starter Blake Hawksworth (3-7) yielded 10 hits and all five 51s runs in taking the loss for Memphis (26-31).
Sergio Garcia and Luis Gaza had three hits apiece for the 51s. Gaza, by going 3-for-3, improved his batting average to a team-leading .410.Las Vegas 51s