RENO — The Reno Aces entered Tuesday night’s game expecting to see Logan Verrett, one of the top young pitchers in the New York Mets chain.
Instead, the talented right-hander was a late scratch and called up to the Mets because of an injury to Bartolo Colon. What the Aces got instead was a parade of relievers.
The Aces scratched out nine hits, but went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on en route to a 6-3 loss to the Las Vegas 51s before a crowd of 4,537 at Greater Nevada Field.
The good news was the Aces, who had won nine of their last 12 on a recent road trip, remained tied for first place with Tacoma, which also lost.
“It’s pretty tough,” said shortstop Jack Reinheimer, who had two hits and reached base four times. “You get in a groove against a starting pitcher. You get to see him 3-4 times. You get a chance to see how they work people. Seeing a new pitcher every inning isn’t easy.
“We’ve been getting pretty good at-bats lately (during the trip). Our pitchers have been good at getting ahead of hitters.”
The Aces left runners at second and third in the fourth and eighth, a runner at third in the fifth and first and second in the ninth.
Despite the offense sputtering, the Aces led 3-1 after five innings thanks to a run-scoring triple by Ed Lucas, a run-scoring infield out by Tuffy Gosewich and a wild pitch.
Then came the fateful sixth. Aces starter Kyle Drabek was working on a 2-hitter when Las Vegas struck for four runs to take a 5-3 lead before Reno could record an out.
The big blow was a three-run double down the third-base line by Travis Taijeron. Eric Campbell drove in the other run with a single. It was Drabek’s second straight loss to the 51s.
“My location was off a little bit; I walked two hitters that inning,” Drabek said. “They put the ball where nobody was. That’s happened the last 2-3 tines out. It’s frustrating. “
Drabek dropped to 3-6 on the season.
Former Nevada star Braden Shipley (6-3, 3.09) toes the rubber tonight at 7:05 in the second game of the series. He’s opposed by lefty Duane Below (4-5, 4.11).
Shipley has nine quality starts out of his last 11. He’s coming off a five-hit effort in a 5-1 win over Albuquerque.
A GOOD MONTH
The Aces have won a PCL-best 14 games thus far in June. Rochester and Lehigh of the International League also have 14 wins this month. Nine of the Aces victories came on the recent 12-game road trip.
Aces manager Phil Nevin was ejected by third-base umpire Junior Valentine for arguing after Valentine said Mike Freeman swung on a pitch in the dirt in the ninth. It was Nevin’s fourth ejection of the year.