The Reno Aces enjoyed some sizzlin’ home cooking.
Reno went 5-2 over a seven-game homestand against the Iowa Cubs and Omaha Storm Chasers. The Aces’ solid stretch helped them improve to 53-61, good for third place in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Division.
The Aces continued their winning ways with a 15-6 victory over the Storm Chasers on Monday night at Greater Nevada Field. Winners of four-straight series, Reno is 7.5 games behind The Sacramento River Cats, who lead the division at 61-53.
“We’ve gotten good things from different parts of the game,” Aces manager Chris Cron said. “Our pitching has been outstanding so far from the starters to the bullpen. Our defense is solid to join a hot stretch from our guys at the plate right now. … We’ve struggled a bit throughout the year with some consistency, but we’re playing good ball at the right time.”
The Aces scored 82 runs over seven games, including a 23-run outing against the Storm Chasers on Aug. 2. Their potent offense helped set a new franchise record with three 20-run games this season.
Monday’s contest was more of the same. Blake Swihart clubbed the 200th home run on the year in the first inning, topping the Aces’ previous high of 178 in 2011. Reno is third in professional baseball in homers behind the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas (222) and Minnesota Twins (219). They’re the third PCL team since 1999 to eclipse 200 homers in a single season.
Andy Young and Juniel Querecuto increased the home run total in the third inning with back-to-back jacks over the Family Berm in right field. Young went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Several position players have been called-up to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but new faces on the Triple-A club have contributed offensively.
“Other guys have picked up the slack,” Aces hitting coach Jason Camilli said. “A lot of guys have stayed ready and picked up good at-bats and do what they need to do to help the team win. It’s a great group to be around and we’ve been producing offensively.
Reno had 16 hits. Ildemaro Vargas was 2-for-6 with a double and three RBIs. Kevin Cron was 1-for-5 with a two-RBI double in the seventh inning. He has a team-high 86 RBIs. Josh Rojas was 1-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs.
Aces starting pitcher Bradin Hagens gave up two earned runs on three hits, three walks and six strikeouts in four innings. The right-hander struck out the side in the fourth with three low-90s two-seam fastballs.
Stefan Crichton picked up his third win, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings to keep Reno’s lead intact.
The Aces jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the first. Omaha had two runs in the second and third. Reno countered with a five-hit, six-run third inning. Both teams scored one run each in the fifth. The Storm Chasers plated another run in the sixth. The Aces padded their lead with six runs in the seventh.
Ben Taylor shut the door in the ninth.
Ginkel shines in Dbacks debut: Aces reliever Kevin Ginkel was recalled to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday morning. The 25-year-old made an appearance on the mound that same day, tossing 0.2 scoreless innings in a 7-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Ginkel has a 1.62 ERA in 15 appearances with the Aces this season.
Notes: The Aces are 9-1 over their last 10 games. They are 797-745 all-time. … Reno is 6-16 in the fourth game of a series. … The Aces are 5-6 all-time in games played on August 5.
On Deck: Reno has an off day before traveling to New Orleans for a three-game series against the Baby Cakes. The Aces return home on Aug. 15 in a four-game series against the Sacramento River Cats, Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.