The Reno Aces homecoming after the All-Star break stunk.
Tempers flared with the Tacoma Rainiers in the bottom of the sixth inning, shifting the streaking Aces momentum. Reno blew a four-run lead in the top of the seventh. In the final frame of Tacoma’s 10-6 victory, outfielders scattered as a skunk scampered across the field, escaping underneath the center field wall.
Shortstop Ildemaro Vargas left the game in the sixth inning after taking a 93-mph fastball to the shoulder from Tacoma reliever Darin Gillies, who was ejected. The Rainiers capitalized with a five-run seventh inning.
Everything was going the Aces way before Vargas was hit by the pitcher. The lead 6-2, Vargas had extended his hitting streak to 18 games and the Aces seemed on their way to a seventh-straight win.
Vargas has the second longest active streak in the Pacific Coast League. He’s hitting .373 with 11 RBIs and 12 runs scored dating back to June 24. A switch-hitter, had 16-game hitting streak earlier this season.
It was the Aces first loss since the All-Star break. The Reno club swept a four game series in El Paso. The Aces are third in PCL Pacific Conference at 46-49, 9.5 games behind the Fresno Grizzlies.
“We are playing some good ball right now,” Aces’ skipper Greg Gross said. “We just need to build some consistency as the season goes along.”
Taylor Clarke, who has a team-high 8 wins, pitched 5.2 innings, surrendering two runs, one earned, on seven hits with four strikeouts in a no decision effort for a paid Greater Nevada Field crowd of 4,104. The flame-throwing righty displayed his High Desert heat on a cool summer night. His four-seam fastball clocked in at 95 mph from the stretch. Clarke occasionally mixed in an 86-mph curveball with backspin dropping to the batter’s knees.
Socrates Brito went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Kevin Cron knocked in another two RBIs. Kristopher Negron belted a homer scoring two RBIs.
Do-it-all player Kristopher Negron made his seventh start in center field this season. The 32 year old blasted his 11th homer to left field.
Second baseman Kevin Medrano made his sixth start with the Aces this season. A call up from Double-A Jackson, Medrano hit .347 with 32 RBIs in 58 games with the Generals this season. He appeared in 20 games with the Aces in 2017. Medrano finished 1-for-4.
Tacoma’s seventh inning rally was led by John Andreoli, Seth Mejias-Brean and Adam Law, who each had two RBIs. Mariners’ top prospect DH Daniel Vogelbach collected two hits.
Rainiers starter Rob Whalen pitched four innings, surrendering two earned runs on four hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
The Aces tallied a run in the first and two more in the third. Tacoma recorded runs in the fourth and sixth. Reno added two runs in the bottom half of the sixth. Tacoma’s seventh inning rally secured the victory. Dario Alvarez (3-0) was the winning pitchers.
Christian Walker named PCL Player of the Week
Reno Aces first baseman Christian Walker is the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week from July 9-15. The reigning PCL MVP hit .333 (5-for-15) with three homers, eight RBIs and four runs. Walker’s clutch bat helped the Aces complete a four-game sweep of El Paso in Texas. He hit a go-ahead three-run blast in the sixth, lifting them to a 4-1 win. “Sky” Walker has racked up the frequent flier miles this year, he’s been recalled to Arizona four times.
Notes: Kevin Cron has 68 RBIs in 61 games this season, placing him second in the PCL behind A.J. Reed. … Ildemaro Vargas has reached base safely in 23 consecutive games played at Greater Nevada Field. … The Aces are 29-18 when scoring first this season.
On Deck: Reno (46-49) will face Tacoma (51-44) at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday for the second game of the four-game series. Aces southpaw Anthony Vasquez (6-3) will face Rainiers righty Bryan Evans (2-1).
— Isaiah Burrows