Tim Locastro and Kevin Cron each homered three times for the first time in Reno Aces history in a 15-5 drubbing of the Fresno Grizzlies on Thursday night.
“I think we both just saw the ball well out there,” Cron said. “For me, I just tried to keep it simple and find a good pitch to hit. Tonight, it worked out that way and sometimes it just happens that way.”
Locastro, the lead-off hitter, and Cron homered in the first and second innings. Cron launched his third in the fourth inning. Locastro hit a grand slam in the fifth.
Cron has hit three homers twice in an Aces uniform. The 6-foot-5 first and third baseman went 3-for-4 with a career-high seven RBIs, one shy of the Aces’ record. A right-handed batter, Cron flashed his power to the opposite field. He pasted two high fastballs over the party zone lawn in right.
“It gives me that flexibility,” he said. “Being able to drive the ball to all sides gives yourself an opportunity to be off and still give yourself a chance to make something happen.”
In his second season with Reno, Cron is used to the wind howling at Greater Nevada Field.
“It’s something to pay attention to for sure,” he said. “It helps put that extra (power) on the ball and the elevation here does the rest.”
Locastro went 4-for-5 with three round-trippers and six RBIs. He launched a hanging breaking ball over the batter’s eye in right-center field for his second homer of the night. The veteran center fielder hit his third homer on the tip of his toes over the scoreboard in left-center, driving in four more runs.
Locrasto, 26, played with the Dbacks April 8-20, playing in nine games after catcher Alex Avila was placed on the 10-day injured list. He had four hits in 11 at bats with four runs and two stolen bases with the big club. He appeared in 18 games with the Dodgers last season, batting .182 in 18 games.
Cron had a front-row seat to Locastro’s performance at the plate.
“I was in the hole for both of them,” he said. “Really special night for him and me to have great games. As well as the team overall going through a bit of a rough patch. It was awesome to see.”
The Aces tallied 14 hits on a 71-degree night. Juniel Querecuto went 3-for-4 with a triple. Yasmany Tomas and Wyatt Mathisen had one hit apiece. Travis Snider added one RBI.
Starting pitcher Taylor Widener recorded his first career Triple-A win. The right-hander surrendered three earned runs and four walks in five innings pitched.
Fresno first baseman Brandon Snyder continued the home run derby, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and two RBIs. Second baseman Jake Noll launched his third home run with the Grizzlies this season.
Shortstop/second baseman Carter Kieboom didn’t make a long stay in the Biggest Little City. MLB Pipeline’s No. 24 prospect made his MLB debut with the Washington Nationals, going STATS. Kieboom went 2-for-4 with a homer, double and two RBIs against the Aces on Wednesday night.
Reno jumped out to a 3-0 lead off off Locastro’s leadoff bomb. Fresno plated one run in the top of the second. Cron’s two-run bomb put two more runs on the board in the bottom of the second.
Fresno chipped into the deficit with two runs in the fourth. Locastro’s grand slam capped-off a six-run fifth inning. The Grizzlies scored one run apiece in the sixth and seventh.
The Aces bullpen took care of the rest with two shutout innings.
Notes: The Aces have three wins on Thursday this season. Reno won their most games on Thursdays in 2018 with a 15-7 record the and the second-most games in 2017 with a 14-8 record. … Both teams combined for 24 hits and 14 strikeouts.
On Deck: Reno, 6-14, will face Fresno for the third game of the five-game series on Friday at 6:35 p.m. Right hander Justin Donatella is expected to face Grizzlies’ right-handed pitcher Austin Voth.
— Isaiah Burrows
Today’s Game: Taylor Clarke will take the mound for the Reno Aces with first pitch slated for 6:35 p.m. looking for his second win of 2019. This is first appearance since he made his Major League debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 20. Clarke made history that day becoming the first player ever to record a hit and a save in their MLB debut since 1969 when saves became an official stat. Clarke threw three innings, allowing no runs and one hit with two strikeouts. Clarke will face Fresno’s RHP Austin Voth who picked up a win against the Aces last time he faced the club on April 6 throwing five innings surrendering two runs and striking out nine.
Three is a Party: Kevin Cron and Tim Locastro combined for six home runs, three each, last night during the Aces 15-5 victory over Fresno. It was the first time in Aces history two teammates hit three roundtrippers EACH in a single game. The only time two teammates have hit three home runs each in a Major League game was on September 25, 2001 when the Milwaukee Brewers’ Jeromy Burnitz and Richie Sexton both belted three home runs a piece against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 9-4 win.
Been There, Cron That: Kevin Cron now has three career, three-homer games in his professional baseball career. One for Double-A Jackson in 2017, and now two for Triple-A Reno. However, the last time Cron hit three bombs in one game previous to last night, he had some competition. On June 27, 2018, Triple-A Salt Lake’s Jabari Blash also hit the trifecta against the Aces. Cron went 3-for-5 with three HR and seven RBIs that day, Blash went 3-for-3 with three HR and four RBIs. The Aces went on to win that game 14-4 at Greater Nevada Field. Blash led all of Triple-A in home runs in 2018 with 29.
Last Time it Happened: Last night’s offensive barrage was something we hadn’t seen in a while for the Aces. The last time the Aces scored 15 runs was on June 28, 2016 during a 15-12 victory over El Paso. Tim Locastro lead-off the game with a home run for Reno, the last time the club had a lead-off homer was by Rey Fuentes on June 17, 2018. Both Kevin Cron and Tim Locastro homered three times yesterday, the last time an Ace hit three home runs in a game was by Cron himself on June 27, 2018.
One of Locastro’s homers was a Grand Slam, the last time that happened previous to yesterday was on June 27, 2018 also by Kevin Cron. Both Cron had seven RBIs while Locastro had six RBIs Thursday, the last time a player for Reno had at least six RBI in a game was Kevin Cron on June 30, 2018 against Tacoma. The six combined home runs tied a franchise record for most dingers in a single game. Reno had done it two previous times once in 2011 against Tacoma, and once in 2018 against Salt Lake.
Facing a Bauer Outage: Former Ace, Trevor Bauer, famously known for helping the Aces to a Pacific Coast League Championship in 2012 lowered his 2019 ERA to 1.99 after his start last night. He is the first Indians player to have an ERA under 2.00 in April (min. 5 starts) since Cliff Lee in 2008. Big Leaguers, Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs, were also on that 2012 Reno championship pitching staff.
Louie G: Arizona Diamondbacks’ legend, Luis Gonzalez, will be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 2nd according to a D-backs’ press release. Gonzalez attended University of South Alabama from 1987-1989 where he twice earned All-America accolades. He still holds South Alabama single-season records for RBI (80 in 1988) and games played (70 in 1987), while he is the school’s all-time leader in RBI (183) and ranks among the leaders in doubles (2nd, 51), at-bats (3rd, 685), runs (3rd, 176), home runs (4th, 32), walks (4th, 121) and games (4th, 193).
Vlad Jr. Day: Infielder, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., is expected to make his Major League debut tonight when his Toronto Blue Jays take on the Oakland Athletics at 4:07 p.m. pacific time. Guerrero Jr. is one of the most anticipated prospects of all-time. He is the only player to ever receive an 80-grade hit tool by MLB Pipeline. He draws comparisons to his father and hall of famer Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, and Albert Pujols. Since starting professional baseball in 2016, he has a .331 batting average, 44 home runs, 209 RBI and 192 runs scored. He is just 20-years-old.
— Jake Trybulski