The Reno Aces scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a tie and benefited from two key Oklahoma City Dodgers errors throughout the game, as the Aces scored a 4-2 victory Thursday night at Greater Nevada Field.
Down 2-1 heading to the eighth inning, the Dodgers (52-38) evened the score. Rico Noel led off with a single and stole second base. Micah Johnson followed with a RBI single to tie the game, and the RBI knock extended Johnson’s season-best hitting streak to 11 games. Charlie Culberson’s sacrifice bunt moved Johnson into scoring position with one out, but the Dodgers could not capitalize, keeping the game tied.
In the home half of the eighth, Mitch Haniger drew a leadoff walk and Peter O’Brien singled. Zach Borenstein came up next and sent a grounder to first base. Rob Segedin fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw to second base hit O’Brien in the back and deflected into center field. The throwing error allowed Haniger to score and O’Brien to advance to third base. Gabby Guerrero then hit a sacrifice fly, making it 4-2.
Will Venable singled with one out in the ninth inning to bring the tying run to the plate for the Dodgers. But Reno reliever Jimmy Sherfy got Zach Walters to fly out and pinch hitter O’Koyea Dickson to strike out and end the game, as Sherfy picked up his second save.
The Dodgers entered the All-Star Break on a collective hot streak at the plate, but were slowed down by Reno Thursday night and never led the ballgame. The Aces (47-44) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. With one out, Borenstein and Guerrero hit back-to-back singles, putting runners at the corners. Carlos Rivero followed with a sacrifice fly to deep center field to open the scoring.
On the mound, Reno starting pitcher Zack Godley got off to a flying start, striking out six of the first seven batters he faced. Godley retired 10 of the first 12 OKC batters, until Corey Brown tied the game on one swing in the fourth inning. Brown launched the first pitch over the left-center field fence for his 12th home run of the season, making it 1-1. It was also Brown’s second consecutive game with a home run.
However, the Aces went back in front with a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning. With the bases empty, Rivero blooped a single into shallow right field. Dan Rohlfing then following with an infield single. Godley came up next and sent a grounder to third base that was mishandled by Walters, and the error allowed the go-ahead run to score.
The Dodgers have committed nine errors over the past five games, with a total of five in the last two contests. The five miscues have led to four unearned runs against the pitching staff, including two on Thursday night.
Both starting pitchers turned in good outings, although neither figured in the decision. Godley allowed just one run and five hits over seven innings. He notched a season-high nine strikeouts to go along with one walk.
Dodgers starter Brock Stewart lasted six innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) and seven hits. He recorded eight strikeouts and did not allow a walk.
Reno reliever Steve Hathaway (1-1) struck out the only batter he faced and ended up with the win. Mike Bolsinger (2-1) allowed two runs (one earned) and two hits over two innings of work, taking the loss.
Thursday’s loss marked just the second defeat in 12 games for OKC, as well as just the second loss in the team’s last 11 road games.
The Dodgers seek to return to the win column Friday night in Reno 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.