RENO — Just call Kyle Jensen Mr. June.
Jensen, the right-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder, set an Aces record for RBI in a single month when he homered twice and drove in five runs to lead Reno to a 9-4 win over Las Vegas Friday night before a crowd of 7,393 at Greater Nevada Field.
It was Jensen’s second five-RBI game of the month, and he has 36 for the month of June which is tops for any level of professional baseball. He broke Mike Jacobs’ team record of 34 set in May of 2014.
Jensen homered in the first and eighth. He previously had five RBI when the Aces beat Salt Lake and Tim Lincecum back on June 7.
“I had no idea they kept records like that,” Jensen said. “I just go up there and try to get good pitches to hit. Hitting is contagious. All of our guys are swinging the bat. I just want to stay hot.”
Jensen is hitting .311 with 14 homers and 68 RBI. He’s filling the role of Peter O’Brien, who was called up a couple of weeks ago by the Diamondbacks.
“Since Pete left, he’s taken over that role of the big power bat in the middle of the lineup,” Aces manager Phil Nevin said. “A lot of his RBIs have come late except for tonight. He has come up with some big, big hits.”
Jensen has been in Triple-A since 2013 with New Orleans, Oklahoma City and now the Aces. Obviously he’s anxious to get “the call.”
“Absolutely,” Jensen said. “I just keep grinding it out in Triple-A hoping to get up and help the big club. I just have to stay consistent and play hard.”
Consistency has been an issue. He has hit .259 and .260 in his last two complete Triple-A seasons with 47 homers and 163 RBIs in that span. His best spot is first base, and Arizona has one of the best in Paul Goldschmidt there. His best chance for a promotion would be as an outfielder.
Jensen kick-started the Aces with his three-run homer off Darin Gorski in the first.
After Ed Lucas was retired, Carlos Rivero singled, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Tuffy Gosewich to make it 4-0.
The 51s cut the lead to 4-3 with one in the second and two in the fourth off starter/winner Matt Buschman.
Buschman settled down after Kelley’s double, retiring nine straight hitters before handing the ball to Enrique Burgos after six innings.
The Aces, who had stranded runners in scoring position in the second and fourth, finally got on track in the sixth.
Gosewich singled and went to third on Matt Jones’ first-ever PCL hit, a double. Mike Freeman followed with a single to left to make it 5-3. Todd Glaesman hit into a double play, scoring Jones to make it 6-3.
Reno made it 7-3 in the seventh when Lucas tripled to deep center and scored on a passed ball.
Burgos, who sailed through the seventh, gave up a single to Eric Campbell, plunked Travis Taijeron and walked Plawecki to load the bases.
Cecchini followed with a deep drive to right. Mitch Haniger appeared to go over the wall and bring the ball back, but couldn’t hold onto it. The runners had to hold their spots, thus Campbell was the only runner to score which made it 7-4.
Burgos departed in favor of Steve Hathaway, who got Kelly to ground into a double play to end the threat.
“I thought Buschman was great,” Nevin said.
“He had one inning (the 2nd) where he ran his pitch count up pretty good. That is a tough lineup. He gave us six innings and put us in a position to win. I don’t know about Burgos, I haven’t talked to him yet. That last inning was location. Hathaway came in throwing strikes.”
Mitch Haniger has hit in 14 of 15 games since joining the team on June 10. Half of those games have come against Las Vegas. He’s hitting .374 against the 51s (12-for-32).
The Aces open a series against El Paso today at 7:05 p.m. with Edgar Garcia (3-3, 6.05) opposing Carlos Pimental (6-4,6.34). The teams will play a double-header starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday. The first game on Sunday will be shown on Channel 21, and will mark the Triple-A debut of Anthony Banda, who was just recalled from Mobile. Both games will be seven innings. The series concludes with a 1:05 p.m. game on Tuesday.
Shortstop Jack Reinheimer was given the day off. Outfielder Zach Borenstein was also rested. Brandon Drury was recalled by the Diamondbacks after Socrates Brito fractured a toe after fouling off a pitch. Brito was put on the 15-day disabled list.
Peter O’Brien, who was recently recalled by the D-Backs, is hitting .171 in 12 games. He has hit four homers and driven in eight runs.