Rita Rey

Recap: Bullpen Yields Five Runs, Rainiers Drop Another to Aces

Rainiers bullpen falters, drop third straight game to Reno by a score of 8-3.

The Reno Aces offense continued to cause problems for the Tacoma pitching, and the Rainiers dropped yet another game to the division leaders, this one by a score of 8-3. It gave the Aces an ever further lead in the division, as their potent bats now have scored 34 runs in the series against the Rainiers.

Rob Whalen ran into some trouble, but was able to keep the Aces off the board despite runners reaching base in three of the first five innings. Timely double play balls, and keeping the ball on the ground in general helped Whalen hold the Aces in check. That all changed though in the sixth, when back to back singles by Jack Reinheimer and Oswaldo Arcia put two on and one out.

Christian Walker would follow up with a three-run home run to tie the game up at three apiece. Whalen sent down the next two batters in order, but the damage had been done to knot the game up. Whalen would then make way to Ryne Harper, going six innings, giving up eight hits and three earned runs while striking out six on 97 pitches.

“I've been working a lot on things in the bullpen after getting sent down again from Seattle,” Whalen said. “There's still some things I need to work on and I've been trying to address them and throw more strikes but of course the one pitch that doesn't go my way gets hit out. Baseball's a funny game, and I think that was on display there."

On the other side, Arizona's number one prospect Anthony Banda looked untouchable for the first three innings, but in the fourth, the Rainiers finally got to him. Leonys Martin laid down a perfect bunt to get himself aboard and scored when Daniel Vogelbach went deep fly to right center field. Tacoma kept on hitting, as D.J. Peterson singled, followed by a Danny Muno walk and Tyler O'Neill double extended the Rainiers lead to 3-0.

The rally ended though when Muno was thrown out a home trying to score on a ground ball to second, and Ryan Jackson flew out. Banda would settle back down in the fifth, sending the Rainiers down in order thanks to a sparkling play at second base by Ildemaro Vargas to rob Mitch Haniger of a hit. Banda did give up a hit in the sixth, but nothing came out of it and that would be all he would go.

Banda would finish going six innings giving up six hits, three earned runs, walking one and striking out five on 100 pitches. He was fairly dominant in every inning besides the fourth where the Rainiers got him for three runs.

After the sixth inning, both teams went to their bullpen as Tacoma brought in Ryne Harper and Reno brought in Erik Davis. Harper pitched a scoreless seventh as did Davis, despite the latter beaning Steve Baron and yielding a single to Leonys Martin. Harper would pitch to one batter in the seventh, giving up a hit before making way to Dean Kiekhefer.

The change wouldn't pay off as a base hit by Arcia followed by an RBI double from Christian Walker gave the Aces their first lead of the day at 4-3. Socrates Brito added another with an RBI single past the diving Zach Shank, making it 5-3 Aces. A long sac fly by Carlos Rivero pushed the Aces lead to three, putting them up 6-3 after eight innings.

They'd tack on two more when Ildemaro Vargas picked up yet another hit, this one a two run home run, making it 8-3 Reno. It was Vargas's 11th hit of the series in 14 AB's, and gave him nine RBI and seven runs scored in the three games. Kaleb Fleck would give up a couple hits in the ninth, but no damage done was done and Reno took an 8-3 victory and a series win.

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