The red-hot Reno Aces have suddenly hit a draw.
Reno split the four-game series to the Sacramento River Cats with an 8-1 loss to the Sacramento River Cats on Sunday at Greater Nevada Field.
The Aces are 7 games behind the River Cats in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division, the same deficit they entered the series with on Thursday.
Sacramento’s magic number to clinch playoff contention is 9 games This number represents the number of wins by the leading team or losses by the trailing team to eliminate them from playoff contention.
In just his second start, River Cats starting pitcher Justin Haley stifled the Aces’ bats. The right-hander pitched six innings, giving up one earned run on four hits and three strikeouts. Sacramento’s bullpen took care of the rest. Jamie Callahan, Williams Jerez and Tyler Rogers tossed three combined scoreless innings.
UNR alum Braden Shipley did his best to keep the Aces afloat. Shipley surrendered two runs — both unearned — on five hits and five strikeouts in five innings. His two-seam fastball painted the corners to complement a deceptive changeup to keep opposing batters off guard.
Reno had five hits. Abraham Almonte recorded the only RBI of the contest. The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native was activated from the temporarily inactive list on Saturday. Domingo Leyba was 1-for-3 with a double. Carlos Asauje added two hits.
The River Cats had 13 hits. Mauricio Dubon was 4-for-6 with a homer and two RBIs. Chris Shaw launched his 17th homer over the Family Berm in right field in the ninth inning.
Sacramento’s parent club, the San Francisco Giants, acquired Dubon from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Drew Pomeranz during the MLB trade deadline. He’s produced for the Triple-A club, batting .311 with two homers and three doubles in 17 games.
Tempers flared in the first inning when leadoff hitter Tim Locastro went up to bat. Travis Snider — who is currently on the injured list — was ejected from the contest for arguing a high strike call from home plate Nick Mahrley to bring the count full. One pitch later, Locastro struck out on a high fastball and proceeded to smash his bat in the dugout hallway.
Sacramento jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second. Reno answered with a run in the third. The River Cats scored two runs in the seventh and four more in the ninth to secure the win.
Notes: Tim Locastro was hit by his eighth pitch of the season last night. He has been plunked 179 times in his career. … The Aces are 5-15 on Sunday. Reno recorded three errors in the loss.
On Deck: Reno, 59-66, hits the road to Las Vegas for a three-game series against the Aviators. The Aces return to Greater Nevada Field on Thursday, Aug. 22 for the final homestand of the year against the Salt Lake Bees
— Isaiah Burrows