The Reno Aces (59-54) took a 6-1 lead with a three-run seventh and held off a pair of late rallies by the Iowa Cubs (55-57) to earn a 6-5 win Thursday night at Principal Park in front of 9,511 fans.
After the Cubs scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull within 6-5, Reno reliever Doug Slaton got pinch hitter Chris Robinson to ground out with runners on second and third to end the game. Slaton earned his third save of the season and thwarted what might have been the second walk-off win for the Cubs in as many nights.
Trailing 6-3 entering the ninth, the Cubs put a walk, an error, and an RBI single by Bobby Scales off veteran Aces reliever Tom Gordon to pull within 6-4 and put runners on the corners with nobody out. After a sacrifice bunt moved Scales into scoring position with one out and So Taguchi walked to load the bases, Slaton relieved Gordon and retired the last two hitters to earn the save.
In the eighth inning, the Cubs used one-out RBI singles by John-Ford Griffin and pinch hitter Jason Dubois to pull within 6-3, but Reno reliever Jose Marte struck out Brad Snyder and got Nate Spears to ground out to end the threat.
Reno starter Tony Barnette (10-7) earned the win, allowing three runs while scattering nine hits in 7.1 innings. He issued just one walk, and struck out three. With the victory, Barnette becomes the fifth PCL pitcher to reach double-digits in wins this season.
Shortstop Ed Rogers paced the Aces at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. John Hester also recorded a multi-hit night, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a run scored.
Reno took a 1-0 lead with a run in the second inning and back-to-back RBI doubles by Hester and Chris Roberson in the third helped the Aces stretch their lead to 3-0.
In the Aces’ three-run seventh, Rogers delivered a two-run double and scored the third run of the inning on a Brandon Allen single.
Iowa starter James Russell (2-1) took the loss. Making his third start of the season, he allowed three runs on six hits in four innings before giving way to the Iowa bullpen.
Nate Spears was a bright spot for the Cubs, going 2-for-4. Steve Clevenger was 1-for-3 after he doubled to lead off the fifth inning.
The Cubs and Aces play the third game of their four-game set tomorrow night at Principal Park. Left-hander Casey Fossum (2-4, 5.40) will start for Iowa and will oppose Reno right-hander Seth Etherton (9-6, 4.95). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.