Reno, Nev.— A strong effort out of the bullpen by Travis Blackley kept Reno close, but the Aces bats stayed quiet over the final three innings in a 5-3 loss to the Salt Lake Bees Saturday night at Aces Ballpark.
After allowing four runs in the top of the third to stake Salt Lake a 5-1 lead, Reno responded with runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Alex Romero plated Brandon Watson with an RBI single in the fifth, followed by a Chris Roberson solo home run in the sixth to cut the Bees lead to 5-3. The Aces bats were then held at bay until the ninth when Romero tripled, sending the tying run to the plate. Aces catcher John Hester struck out, though, to end the game.
Reno starter Yusmeiro Petit (0-1), making his second Major League rehab start, took the loss, allowing five runs on five hits over 2.2 innings of work. Out of the bullpen, Blackley threw four shutout innings while allowing only two hits. Abe Woody and Doug Slaten combined to dealt the final 2.1 innings of scoreless ball to keep the Aces close, but Reno could not close the gap.
Brandon Watson, Romero and Roberson each had two hits for Reno, which dropped its second game in three days to Salt Lake.
Salt Lake starter Dan Denham (4-3) picked up the win for the Bees, while Rafael Rodriguez picked up his second save of the season, lowering his ERA to 0.68.
The same two teams face-off Sunday afternoon in the final game of the season series. The Aces will send RHP Hector Ambriz (1-4, 4.97 ERA) to the mound to oppose Salt Lake RHP Mike MacDonald (4-5, 5.16 ERA). Sunday’s game will be a FOX 11 Family Sunday, with youth jerseys going to the first 1,500 kids ages 12 and under, courtesy of Waste Management. In addition, Tahoe Creamery will be unveiling their new Aces-themed flavor of “Ace Cream,” as voted on by Aces fans. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm.
Starting Monday, the Aces play host to intrastate rival Las Vegas for a three-game series in the inaugural Silver State Diamond Challenge. The games will be the first-ever games between Reno and Las Vegas.