RENO, Nev. — Mike Baxter and Joc Pederson crushed a pair of homers in the top of the seventh to break a 2-2 deadlock en route to a 5-2 Albuquerque win Sunday night at Aces Ballpark.
Aces lefty Andrew Chafin (4-5) and Isotopes righty Jeff Bennett (5-5) went toe-to-toe for six innings, each giving up just a pair of runs, before Albuquerque broke through in the seventh. Baxter homered to right on the first pitch of the inning, and Pederson crushed a two-run homer to right-center on the first pitch of his at-bat to extend the lead.
For the second-straight night, the Isotopes jumped out to an early lead. With two out in the second, Walter Ibarra doubled in a pair to give Albuquerque a 2-0 lead.
The Aces tied things up in the fifth after loading the bases with none out. Chafin grounded into a double play as Reno’s first run crossed the plate, and Weber picked up a long two-out single to right to drive in the tying run.
Reno had a handful of chances against Bennett, but grounded into three double plays to stifle potential rallies. Aces hitters stranded five baserunners on the night.
After giving up one unearned run in 7 2/3 innings in his previous start in Salt Lake, Chafin took the loss after giving up five earned runs through 6 2/3 innings. He walked none and struck out four. This season, Chafin is 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA on the road, and just 1-3 with an 8.10 ERA at home. Jess Todd (1 1/3 innings) and Jake Barrett (1 inning) came out of the bullpen to keep the Isotopes off the board in the eighth and ninth.
Bennett evened up his record with a solid outing, giving up just two unearned runs on four hits through seven innings. He walked three and struck out two. Scott Elbert, on a rehab assignment from the Dodgers, pitched a scoreless eighth; Josh Ravin gave up back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth but escaped with the save.
Mike Freeman and Andy Marte collected two hits each for Reno, and Marte had the Aces’ only extra-base hit, a fourth-inning double.
The series finale is set for Monday evening at Aces Ballpark. The Aces can claim victory in the overall season series with a win, while an Isotopes win would secure a series split. Right-hander Charles Brewer (4-9, 6.54 ERA) will be on the mound for Reno, with Drew Carpenter (2-0, 7.56) starting for Albuquerque. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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