There’s no place like home, and the Reno Aces are looking forward to keeping their hot bats snapping at Greater Nevada Field on Wednesday night following a successful road trip to The Volunteer State.
Getaway days at the end of a road trip tend to be happy occasions in baseball, but Monday was an outright party for the Aces.
Reno scored three runs in the ninth inning to defeat the Memphis Redbirds, 7-6. It was the first time this season the Aces have won a game that it trailed after eight innings. Reno won five of its seven games on the Tennessee road trip, winning each series at Nashville and Memphis.
After a day off, the Aces will be back at Greater Nevada Field at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday to open a three-game series with the Iowa Cubs. The homestand will continue with four games against the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Kansas City Royals’ Triple-A affiliate.
Reno’s offense is hot, with a team batting average of over .300 in its last five games. Adding to the heat will be first baseman Christian Walker, who was called up on Sunday to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a game, had a pinch hit, and then was sent back to the minors, not the kind of round trip a power hitter covets. He has 3 hits — a single, double and a home run — in 17 at bats for Arizona. Meanwhile, Dbacks’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was named National League Player of the Week.
While in Tennessee, the Aces fielded a streaking Venezuelan double-play combination of shortstop Ildemaro Vargas and second baseman Juniel Querecuto, who was promoted on June 8 from Double-A Jackson. Both are switch hitters.
Vargas, 26, who in his third season with Reno, has a 12-game hitting streak. In contrast to what the parent club Dbacks are doing with Walker, Vargas is playing every day for Reno and would be in fine form to assume the same role with Arizona if shortstop Nick Ahmed gets injured.
Querecuto is on a nine-game hitting streak, including his time in Jackson, where he was hitting .369 with 10 stolen bases. The Aces welcome the speed. They have just 28 stolen bases on the year, second to last in the Pacific Coast League.
Here come the Cubs
Many of the players who take the field in the Iowa-Reno series could see action this October in the Major League playoffs. The two teams’ parent clubs, the Diamondbacks and the Chicago Cubs, are leading their respective divisions in the National League. … Players to watch on the Iowa Cubs: switch-hitting catcher Victor Caratini, 24, who is batting .304 in 13 games with Iowa, and .263 in 26 games with Chicago; and power-hitting shortstop David Bote, 25, who has played in eight big league games this year.
Both Iowa and Reno are in the cellars of their respective divisions, but there is reason for optimism. The Aces (30-35) are only two games out of second place. They’ve played 20 of their last 25 games on the road, going 10-10, and 13-12 overall. Iowa (24-38) opened the season 5-20 but since has gone 19-18.
Yasmany Tomas, who has three years and $42.5 million remaining on his big league salary, is pulling out of his offensive slump. He hit the game winning home run with two outs in the ninth on Monday in Memphis. His average has crept up to .245. … Aces outfielder Cesar Puello has been swinging a hot bat since returning from the disabled list for the second time. His .333 batting average is eighth in the in PCL. … When Walker was sent back down, Braden Shipley was called up. He was the first pitcher out of the bullpen on Monday, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings in a Dbacks’ win over Pittsburgh. A former Nevada Wolf Pack player, Shipley is transitioning from a starting pitcher to a reliever. … During the Aces road trip, the Dbacks sent down outfielder Socrates Brito and infielder Kristopher Negron was designated for assignment. He was back in the Aces lineup on Wednesday at shortstop.
– Tim Parsons