RENO, Nev.— Tyler Bortnick and Tyler Graham homered for the Aces Wednesday night, but Reno dropped a 5-4 decision to the Fresno Grizzlies at Chukchansi Park.
Despite the defeat, a loss by second-place Colorado Springs on Wednesday trimmed Reno’s magic number down to two. The Aces will enter play on Thursday in position to clinch a second-straight division championship with a victory over the Grizzlies in the series finale at Chukchansi Park and a loss by the Sky Sox.
On Wednesday, Bortnick’s solo homer in the fifth tied the ballgame—albeit briefly. Fresno answered with two runs in the sixth and added one more in the seventh to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Graham’s two-run home run in the ninth cut the Aces’ deficit to one, but they would get no closer.
Aces starter Joe Martinez (10-11) took the loss, surrendering five runs on 12 hits over 6.2 innings of work. Martinez walked two and struck out five. After his exit, Mike DeMark worked 1.1 scoreless frames.
The win went to Fresno reliever Brad Penny (1-0), who dealt a scoreless sixth inning. Jean Machi bent but didn’t break in the ninth, hanging on for his 15th save.
Three of Reno’s eight hits on the night went for extra bases, and the club had just two at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Aces and Grizzlies close-out the series at Chukchansi Park on Thursday night. RHP Daniel Cabrera (0-1, 2.08 ERA) gets the nod for Reno, while RHP Andrew Kown (6-7, 5.63 ERA) counters for Fresno. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PT, and the action can be heard live on Fox Sports 630 AM or by visiting RenoAces.com.
Reno returns for the final homestand of the 2012 regular season on Friday night.