“It was a nice finish to the dismal three games that we lost prior to this,” Reno Aces manager Brett Butler said.
Reno (66-61) finally got some offense going in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Ruben Gotay singled for Reno’s first hit of the game. That was followed by a Brandon Allen walk. Cole Gillespie then walked to load up the bags for Aces’ catcher Luke Carlin.
“Initially, they jumped on this kid,” Butler said on his team’s offense. “They weren’t patient at all, they were swinging at first pitches.”
Carlin delivered with a single to short left field, plating Gotay and keeping the bases loaded for Ed Rogers. Rogers hit a bases-clearing double to deep center field. That blast took the lead from the Isotopes as Reno forged ahead 4-3.
“I was concentrating,” Rogers said after the game. “Bases loaded and we were down three runs. He gave me a good pitch to hit.”
Agustin Murillo followed suit with a single to send in Rogers, pushing the big inning to five runs.
The Aces batted eight in the inning and lit up J.D. Durbin (0-5) for four hits on five runs in the frame with just one out. Isotopes reliever Henry Bonilla then stepped in and forced Brandon Watson to groundout into a double play, catching Reno's Billy Buckner off guard at first.
“After we scored the first run, everybody was excited,” Rogers said.
Albuquerque (71-56) and Reno were at a stalemate until the Aces pushed across another run in the bottom of the sixth. Gillespie led off with a triple and was brought in on a sacrifice groundout by Rogers for his fourth RBI of the game.
In the bottom of the eighth, some keen base running got Carlin out of the pickle to second while distracting the Isotopes defense enough to get Gillespie safely home for one more run in the eighth and a 7-3 edge.
Things did not start off the way the Aces wanted them to. On the first pitch of the first inning, Albuquerque’s Chin-Lung Hu hit a home run to left center for an immediate 1-0 Isotopes lead.
Reno and Albuquerque grinded it out until the top of the fourth when the Isotopes scored again. Albuquerque had three singles in a row in the third. J.D. Closser scored Mitch Jones for a 2-0 lead and that left runners on the corners, Dee Brown at third and Closser at first. Jamie Hoffmann hit into a double play but that scored Brown.
After a sketchy three innings, the Aces’ turned things around to get the 7-3 final.
Rogers finished the game with four RBIs on one hit and one run on the night. A perk for Rogers on the upcoming road trip is that he will get to face his brother, Esmil Rogers who pitches for the Colorado Sky Sox.
“I’ve gotta get two knocks against him,” Rogers said. “It’s a good feeling, a different feeling. I can’t really express what kind of feeling. I played against him in the Dominican Republic but it’s not the same because the whole family was there. Over here, it’s a little bit of a different feeling. I can’t even tell you.”
Buckner (9-3), who was the Pacific Coast League ERA leader in August, collected the win for Reno. He pitched seven innings for the Aces and had three strikeouts. He gave up three runs on five hits and one home run.
“Good pitching will beat good hitting any day,” Butler said.
Next up for the Aces is a series at Colorado Springs, starting today at 6:05 p.m. PDT. Tony Barnette (11-7) will start the series on the mound for Reno. Rogers will take up the pitching duties for Colorado Springs (1-4) today.