Butler ejected in Aces’ loss to Bees
RENO – Chalk another “first” off the list for the Reno Aces.
The Triple-A baseball team had its first managerial ejection in an otherwise forgettable homecoming as the Salt Lake Bees picked up a 6-2 win Thursday night at Aces Ballpark.
Salt Lake jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and held on from there but the fireworks of the evening came from a pair of mid-game ejections.
Aces’ manager Brett Butler was ejected from the game in the bottom of the fourth inning after arguing with home plate umpire Chris Tiller over a check-swing third strike to shortstop Ed Rogers. That came two pitches after Rogers had a sharp line drive along the third baseline called foul.
“I think that (the line drive) could’ve been a big difference for us,” Butler said. “Then when Chris called that check swing, I was like ‘enough.’
“I went down there and argued it and that’s not something I can argue.”
Salt Lake designated hitter Bobby Wilson was tossed in the top of the seventh after arguing a called second strike with Tiller.
It was the first game back from a 13-game road trip for Reno. Close to a fourth of Reno’s first 61 games have been against the Bees with Thursday night’s meeting serving as the 13th between the two this year. This weekend’s series will mark the last time the Aces see Salt Lake this year. Salt Lake now leads the season series 8-5.
“If we can get to the bullpen against these guys we know we have a chance,” Butler said. “But, it seems like we keep doing something that causes us to get behind early. It’s one of those deals, there’s always a club that seems to do that to you.”
The Aces’ bullpen had a stellar evening as Jose Marte, Doug Slaten and Bobby Korecky combined for four strikeouts, one walk and no hits over the final three innings.
“Marte came in and threw solid and we had some guys that needed some work,” Butler said. “They were well-rested, they went after the hitters the way they were supposed to and that was the end result.”
The Bees peppered Reno starter Tony Barnette for four hits and two home runs in a three-run first inning, setting the tone for the night.
Salt Lake had five runs on eight hits by the end of the second inning and matched Barnette’s season-high 11 hits allowed by the fourth inning.
“He was too much around the plate tonight,” Butler said. “Don’t get me wrong, we want him to throw strikes, but not at the meat of the plate.
“About the third inning I said ‘Tony, if you want to be respected, you have to bust these guys inside. You have to get them uncomfortable. He started to do that and I think he ended up with a season high in punchouts and as a staff we had 11.”
Barnette settled down to retire six of the last seven batters he faced before giving way to Marte in the top of the seventh. Salt Lake went hitless over the final five innings.
Barnette finished with seven strikeouts and one walk in six innings of work while his ERA rose to 6.82 on the year.
Reno got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when left fielder Brandon Watson put down a sacrifice bunt with runners on first and third to score catcher Luke Carlin.
The Aces added another run in the fifth when Trent Oeltjen led off with a triple and Ruben Gotay followed with a double to deep center.
They had a chance for more in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth but left runners stranded in scoring position in each case. For the night, they batted 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
Oeltjen led the Aces at the plate, going 3-for-4.
Terry Evans and Brandon Wood each homered and drove in a pair of runs.
Diamondbacks first baseman Tony Clark made his first appearance for the Aces in a rehab assignment. He had been on the 15-day disabled list since he sprained his right hand on May 6. He went 1-or-5 on the night with an eighth-inning single.
Notes: Right-hand pitcher Leo Rosales returned to the Aces roster Thursday after being optioned by the Diamondbacks. He made 10 appearances with the Diamondbacks, posting a 1-0 record with 10 strikeouts, six walks and a 5.40 ERA in 15 innings pitched. First pitch was at 7:08 p.m. Clark wore No. 51, served as the Aces’ designated hitter and batted fourth in the lineup. Oeltjen’s triple in the bottom of the fifth was his league-leading ninth. Attendance for the game was 5,926.