The Reno Aces jumped out to a four-run lead through three innings, providing more than enough of a cushion in a 6-2 win over the Oklahoma City Dodgers Sunday night at Greater Nevada Field.
The Aces (49-45) took three of four games in the series, handing the Dodgers just their second road series loss of the entire season. The Dodgers (53-40) lost consecutive road games for the first time since May 27 and are now just 3-9 in road games out west against Pacific Conference opponents this season.
The Aces picked up where they left off Saturday night, notching a run and an extra-base hit in the first inning. Mitch Haniger hit a RBI triple out to right-center field that barely eclipsed Joc Pederson’s glove. Jharel Cotton was able to limit the damage, though, striking out both Peter O’Brien and Kyle Jensen to end the inning.
Reno had none on and two out in the second inning before Dan Rohlfing doubled. Pitcher Anthony Banda then singled up the middle to score Rohlfing and make it 2-0.
The Aces kept their hot start going in the third inning, when Haniger connected on a two-run homer to center field. Haniger finished the series 7-for-13 with two home runs, four extra-base hits, and six RBI.
Down 4-0, the Dodgers cut the deficit in half in the fourth inning. Austin Barnes hit a RBI triple off the center field fence, and O’Koyea Dickson delivered a two-out RBI single.
It would end up being the only inning the Dodgers scored. Outside of the fourth, the Dodgers produced no runs and just four hits. The six through nine batters went a combined 0-for-14 throughout the game.
After the Dodgers headed into the All-Star Break on an offensive tear, OKC was limited to just two runs in two of the four games in Reno, and failed to score more than three runs in three games – all resulting in losses.
The Dodgers had a good chance to score in the sixth inning, putting two on with none out and the 3-4-5 batters due up. But both Barnes and Rob Segedin flied out, and Dickson struck out to end the inning.
After giving up four runs through the first 12 batters he faced, Cotton proceeded to retire the next 10 in a row, with six via strikeout. The streak ended with one out in the sixth inning when Jensen walked and Carlos Rivero followed with a single. With runners at first and second, Ildemaro Vargas sent a grounder toward the middle. Brandon Hicks fielded the ball and stepped on second base for a force out, but his throw to first base trying to complete the double play was wide of the mark. As a result of the throwing error, Jensen scored and put Reno ahead, 5-2.
With none on and two out in the top of the eighth inning, Pederson singled and Austin Barnes doubled to put two men in scoring position. However, Reno reliever Evan Marshall got Segedin to ground out and keep Reno ahead by three runs.
Pederson collected his second straight multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-4. In the three games during his rehab assignment, Pederson went 5-for-8 with three walks.
The Aces finished the scoring in the bottom of the eighth inning. O’Brien led off with a triple but was still at third base after two strikeouts. Vargas was able to bring O’Brien home with a RBI single to make it 6-2.
Making his fourth Triple-A start, Banda (1-2) turned in his best outing with the Aces. He allowed two runs and five hits over seven strong innings. The lefty walked one and struck out five. Banda began his night by facing the minimum through three innings, retiring eight of nine batters. He finished by retiring 10 of the last 12 he faced.
Cotton (7-5) was able to last 5.2 innings despite his rocky start. He ended up with the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) and five hits. He issued three walks with nine strikeouts.
Cotton and four relievers combine to notch 15 strikeouts over just eight innings Sunday. It was the second time in three games the Dodgers struck out 15 Aces batters and marked the sixth time overall this year OKC’s pitchers racked up at least 15 strikeouts. Over the four-game series, the Dodgers totaled 50 strikeouts.
The Dodgers continue their road trip out west Monday night when they face the Tacoma Rainiers for the first time this season, starting at 9:05 p.m. Central time. Live coverage begins 15 minutes before the scheduled first pitch on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com, or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.