RENO – Zack Godley, like several of his Aces teammates, has shuttled back and forth between Arizona and Reno this season.
A couple of more starts like the one he had Thursday night against Oklahoma City, and he just might be back with the Diamondbacks before you know it.
Godley threw seven strong innings, allowing a run and six hits and striking out nine, as Reno opened the second half of the baseball season with a 4-2 win before a crowd of 5,039 at Greater Nevada Field.
The Aces, who won the game with two runs in the eighth, had lost two straight and three of their last four entering this week’s Triple A All-Star break. Coming off a break and picking up a win against a division leader was not lost on Godley or Aces manager Phil Nevin, whose team is now 47-44.
“It’s up there,” Godley said when asked to rank this start compared to other starts this season. “I located all my pitches well tonight, and the defense played unbelievably behind me. I was just trying to get them to beat the ball in the ground. I’m just looking for consistency.
“It’s always good to win when you come off a break, especially the way we played before the break.”
“We ran into a good team last week in Fresno,” Nevin said. “We faced their top three guys in the four-game series. We were not really good before the break.
“Zack’s (recent) stints have been kind of short, so we were kind of watching his numbers. We had him at 93 in the dugout. I think he could have gone to 100. He has always been able to locate his fastball, but the curveball definitely was a good pitch for him tonight.”
The only negative was Godley, who fanned six of the first seven batters he faced, came away with a no decision. The seven-inning stint matched Godley’s season high. He threw seven innings in a 9-1 win over Salt Lake on June 5.
Reno took a 1-0 lead in the second when Zach Borenstein singled to right, moved to third on Gabby Guerrero’s single to center and scored on Carlos Rivero’s one-out sacrifice fly to deep center.
The Aces should have tacked on another run in the third, but both Godley and lead-off hitter Mike Freeman were both robbed of hits. Sean Jamieson and Mitch Haniger hit back-to-back singles, but Peter O’Brien grounded sharply to third to end the inning.
Corey Brown knotted the game in the top of the fourth with a lead-off homer to left-centerfield. The Dodgers threatened to go ahead later in the inning, but Rob Segedin was cut down at the plate on Will Venable’s single. Segedin had gone from first to third on the hit, and he broke for the plate when Venable got into a rundown.
Godley helped his own cause with a two-out single off the glove of third baseman Zach Walters to give the Aces a 2-1 lead after four.
The game stayed that way until the top of the eighth when Oklahoma City tied the game against reliever Evan Marshall.
Rico Noel singled, stole second and scored on Micah Johnson’s single. Marshall was lifted in favor of lefty Steve Hathaway with the left-handed hitting Brown up. Hathaway fanned Brown to end the threat.
“That was a big out,” Nevin said. “I wasn’t ready to bring in Jimmy (Sherfy) yet, so if Brown had gotten on, Hathaway would have had to face the right-hander (Segedin).”
The Aces won it in the bottom of the inning against Mike Bolsinger, who pitched in the majors last season.
Haniger walked and moved to second on O’Brien’s single. Borenstein grounded to Segedin at first, and Segedin’s throw hit O’Brien in the back and bounced into short centerfield. Haniger scored and O’Brien reached third. Borenstein was thrown out trying to reach second. Guerrero followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Aces some breathing room.
Sherfy gave up a one-out single in the ninth before retiring the side to earn his second save of the season.
RIVERO ON FIRE
Rivero extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single to right field. In that span, he’s hitting .351 with a homer and three RBI.
The four-game series continues today, also at 7:05 p.m. with Oklahoma City’s Jose De Leon (1-0, 3.03) facing Reno’s Edwin Escobar (5-2, 5.08). On Saturday night at 7:05, OKC’s Ross Stripling faces Reno’s Matt Buschmann (5-6, 5.44). In the series finale on Sunday at 6:05 p.m., Jharel Cotton (7-4, 4,47) of OKC faces Anthony Banda (0-2, 6.60).
Kyle Jensen started in right field at Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star game in Charlotte. Jensen went 1-for-2 with a run scored, two walks and a stolen base.
He also was in the Home Run Derby, finishing second. Jack Reinheimer fanned in his only at-bat, while Braden Shipley allowed a solo homer and struck out two in one inning of work.
The trio didn’t arrive back into Reno until the middle of the day, and Jensen was given the night off. Reinheimer had a pinch-hit appearance and singled.
Shelby Miller, who has been struggling with the parent club, has been optioned to Reno.
Miller was 2-9 with an ERA of 7.14.