But the tide might be turning. After taking 3 of 4 from first-place Fresno to win its second series of the season, Reno made it a three-game winning streak by coming home and stunning the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, 8-6, with a six-run ninth-inning rally in front of a crowd of 6,457 at Aces Ballpark Tuesday night.
Aces manager Brett Butler pushed the right buttons in the bottom of the ninth when not much had worked up until then.
Yunesky Sanchez came off the bench as a pinch hitter and blasted a walk-off three-run homer to cap the six-run outburst.
Reno trailed 6-2 heading into its final three outs.
Following a Brandon Allen strikeout to start the ninth, Ryan Roberts reached on a throwing error by shortstop Eider Torres.
Pedro Ciriaco picked up his first hit of the evening on a line drive single to center field, putting runners on first and second, ending Sky Sox starting pitcher Chaz Roe’s outing of five-hit ball over 8 1-3 innings. He struck out five and walked two while allowing three earned runs.
Carlos Corporan’s single to right loaded the bases for Ed Rogers, who laced an RBI single, making it a 6-3 ballgame.
John Hester then pinch hit and his two-run double cut the deficit to 6-5 and set up Sanchez’s heroics.
The Aces used the long ball in the second inning to tie the contest at 2-2 but could not solve Roe for the majority of the game.
After Roberts deposited a Roe offering into the visitors’ bullpen for a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the second, the Sky Sox broke the game open in the fourth on the strength of four RBI doubles.
Aces starter Bryan Augenstein had been enjoying some home cooking lately, looking to win his fourth straight decision at Aces Ballpark. He was 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA over those starts.
That was far from the case Tuesday when he was knocked around for six runs on 10 hits over five innings of work. The fourth inning was far from pretty when Colorado Springs sent up eight hitters to the plate against Augenstein.
Catcher Michael McKenry initiated the rally with a grounder back up the middle to lead off the top of the fourth frame.
Kaz Matsui, Dexter Fowler, Eider Torres and Jay Payton followed with run-scoring two-baggers. The last three were in succession.
It was Torres’ third double of the game. His first helped Colorado Springs get on the board in the opening inning.
With one out, Torres went opposite field with a double that bounced up against the wall in left field.
Payton plated him with a shot halfway up the wall in left-center field, which also went for a double for a 1-0 lead. Payton moved up to third on a wild pitch from where he would score on Matt Miller’s sacrifice fly to left field, pushing the lead to 2-0.
Corporan was the only Aces hitter with more than one base knock off the Sky Sox (33-39).
Torres had four hits in the losing cause, but his ninth-inning error proved detrimental. Payton and Travis Metcalf added two hits apiece.
Kevin Mulvey (2-5, 5.30 ERA) is scheduled to start Game 2 of the series against Colorado Springs’ Jorge De La Rosa in his first rehab start with the club. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. today.