RENO, Nevada– The Reno Aces overcame a three-run deficit in the seventh inning and then stranded the tying run at third base to end the game and hold on for a 6-5 win over the Oklahoma City Dodgers Monday night at Greater Nevada Field.
The Dodgers led, 3-0, heading to the bottom of the seventh, with starting pitcher Brock Stewart cruising on the mound. Through 6.2 innings, Stewart had retired 19 of the 21 batters he faced.
Unfortunately, Stewart could not complete the seventh inning. Kevin Cron and Rey Fuentes hit back-to-back home runs to cut the Dodgers’ lead to one.
Jamie Westbrook continued the inning with a single on 1-2 pitch. Stewart again had two strikes on the next batter,Anthony Recker, but Recker hit a go-ahead two-run homer to put the Aces on top, 4-3.
Prior to the seventh inning, Stewart had allowed three home runs all season while pitching for OKC and had not allowed a home run over his previous seven starts.
The Dodgers (61-50) picked up Stewart in the eighth inning and tied the game. Kyle Garlick and Edwin Ríos started the frame with singles, and two batters later, a sacrifice fly by Angelo Mora made it a 4-4 game.
The Aces (59-55) responded in the bottom of the inning and loaded the bases with none out. Dodgers reliever Manny Bañuelos struck out Cron, but Fuentes followed with a two-run single to shallow left-center field to give Reno a 6-4 lead.
Adam Liberatore replaced Bañuelos on the mound and prevented the Aces from scoring again after they had the bases loaded with one out, keeping the Dodgers down by two.
Connor Joe led off the inning and doubled off the right-center field fence. He scored two batters later on a RBI single by Alex Verdugo, which was Verdugo’s third hit of the night. Andrew Toles followed with a pinch-hit single, placing runners at the corners with one out.
Garlick came up next and sent a chopper to third base. Cron fielded the ball and threw to second base for one out, and Chris Owings’ throw to first base beat Garlick by less than a step to complete a game-ending double play.
The Dodgers led a majority of night, but suffered their fifth loss when leading after six innings. It was also the fifth time they were defeated when leading a game by at least three runs.
After a strong day at the plate Sunday, the Dodgers carried it over and got off to a hot start Monday. Four of the first five batters collected hits, including three doubles. Donovan Solano plated the first two runs on a double down the third base line, and two batters later, Kyle Farmer doubled off the top of the left field fence to score Solano and put OKC ahead, 3-0.
But following the quick burst in the first inning, the Dodgers were kept off the board until the eighth inning. During a stretch between the first and seventh innings, they went 1-for-16 with runners on base. They left the bases loaded the fourth inning and left 10 runners on for the game – including seven in scoring position. The Dodgers outhit the Aces, 15-6, but went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
Stewart’s otherwise stellar outing was marred by the seventh inning. He ended up allowing four runs and six hits over 6.2 innings, with no walks and a season high-tying eight strikeouts.
The win went to Reno reliever Braden Shipley (6-4), who allowed one run and three hits between the seventh and eighth innings. Silvino Bracho found a way to escape the harrowing ninth inning to earn his sixth save.
Bañuelos (8-6) took the loss for OKC. He allowed two runs and three hits while retiring just two of the seven batters he faced.
The Dodgers and Aces finish their four-game series at 9:05 p.m. Tuesday. Live radio coverage begins 15 minutes before first pitch on AM 1340 “The Game,” 1340thegame.com, or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.
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