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Aviators open 12-game homestand with 2 wins in first 6 games

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

With another chance to take control of second place in the Western Division of the Triple-A West, the Las Vegas Aviators fell short.

Las Vegas lost four of six to the Tacoma Rainiers from Las Vegas Ballpark this past week.

The Aviators are 5-7 against the Rainiers this year.

Now firmly in third place, Las Vegas sits at 39-39 on the year and are now four games out of second place.

In addition, the team is nine games behind Reno for first place and three games away from swapping places with fourth place Salt Lake.

The homestand will continue as the Aviators will welcome in the Bees in hopes of avoiding sliding more in the standings.

In other Oakland Athletic news, infielder Jacob Wilson was claimed by the AL West rival, Houston Astros after being designated for assignment.

Reliever Domingo Acevedo was also designated for assignment but was retained by the organization after resigning with the team.

In addition, the team did receive outfielder Seth Brown back from the A’s after the team acquired catcher Yan Gomes and infielder Josh Harrison from the Washington Nationals.

Thursday, L, 4-1

Las Vegas suffered a slow offensive night in a 4-1 loss in the series opener against Tacoma from Las Vegas Ballpark.

After two first inning hits the Aviators didn’t record another until the fifth inning.

Moreover, the team’s only run of the game came via a balk in the fifth inning to make it 2-1 Rainiers.

The wind didn’t help matters much for either team with both having multiple balls die out on the warning track.

The team is now 4-13 when it does not hit a home run.

The team just couldn’t take advantage of early inning opportunities.

The leadoff man reached in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings while the second batter reached in the eighth.

Starting pitcher Miguel Romero (2-4) had his longest outing of the season but was charged with the loss.

He had a good stretch after a two-run first inning, facing the minimum for the next three innings.

Romero went 6.2 innings, allowing four runs on six hits while recording five strikeouts and issuing one walk.

Las Vegas now sits three games behind second-place Tacoma in the Western Division of the Triple-A West.

Friday, L, 6-3

It was two more first inning runs by the Rainiers that put the Aviators behind the eight-ball in game two of six from LVBP.

By the third inning, Tacoma was up 3-0 after a home run by shortstop Donnie Walton.

However, it was the fifth inning again where Las Vegas would score its first run of the game, this time three.

The first two reached (center fielder Luis Barrera and second baseman Nate Mondou) on singles before being driven in on RBI singles from first baseman Francisco Peña and designated hitter Austin Allen respectively.

With the score 3-2 Rainiers, the rest of the runs would not come until the ninth inning.

Three more Tacoma runs came in that frame off reliever Grant Holmes including a run that was balked in by left-hander Reymin Guduan who came in for the last out.

An RBI single by third baseman Vimael Machîn in the bottom half of the frame would not be enough.

Las Vegas is now 4-14 when it does not hit a home run.

Six pitchers were used in the contest including starter Brian Howard who tallied his fourth loss of the season.

He went five full allowing three runs on four hits while walking three and striking out five.

Reliever Sam Moll also made his Las Vegas debut after being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks and optioned from the Oakland Athletics.

He went 1.2 perfect innings including one strikeout.

Saturday, L, 10-1

The trend of lopsided first innings continued in game three of this six-game series as the Aviators lost 10-1 to the Rainiers.

After recording two runs in each of the two first innings they’ve played so far, Tacoma tallied five this time around taking control of the game early.

Starter Paul Blackburn was hit hard as he had his worst outing of the season for his second straight trip to the mound.

Blackburn (3-6) pitched five full, allowing seven runs on 12 hits, both season-highs. He also struck out five and walked two.

Over the last two games, Blackburn has allowed 12 runs on 22 hits in 10.2 innings pitched.

Entering the game, he was fourth in the Triple-A West with a 4.71 earned run average.

He didn’t get much help from the offense as the team posted three hits during the duration of the contest.

The team did, however, hit it’s first home run at Las Vegas Ballpark since July 19 or three home games.

Catcher Francisco Peña hit his 14th home run of the year in the fourth inning and it served as the team’s lone run of the contest.

Five of the first six outs of the game came via the strikeout for a Vegas team that ranks first in the Triple-A West in striking out the least.

The Aviators struck out three more times over the next eight innings.

Las Vegas is now 19-20 at home and five games out of second place.

Sunday, W, 4-2

Needing a momentum switch, the Aviators scored runs in the first inning for the first time in five games dating back to the last series.

Las Vegas beat Tacoma, 4-2, from Las Vegas Ballpark for the team’s first win in four attempts in this six-game series.

The Aviators put up three runs in the first inning beginning with an RBI single by first baseman Francisco Peña.

That hit extended his hitting streak to seven games.

Later that inning, Peña was driven in by designated hitter Carlos Perez on a two-run home run, for his 15th on the year, good for second on the team.

That home run was the first hit of the series for Perez.

Second baseman Nate Mondou added another run to the board with an RBI double in the fifth inning.

Those three run-scoring outcomes account for three of the four hits recorded by Las Vegas in the game.

The other was a single in the third inning by catcher Austin Allen.

Left-hander A.J. Puk got his first start of the year and went three innings allowing one run on three hits.

He also tallied five strikeouts without issuing a walk.

Reliever Adam Kolarek (1-0) got his first win of the year after going two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three.

Fellow reliever Sam Moll also got his first save of the season despite allowing the tying run to reach base in the ninth.

He pitched one inning, allowing one hit, two walks and striking out one.

Monday, L, 5-4

While there were no first inning runs for either team for the first time this series, Las Vegas still fell behind early and couldn’t find his footing fighting back.

The Aviators were defeated by the Rainiers for the fourth time in five chances, this time 5-4 from the LVBP.

With the bases loaded with one out in the eighth inning, Las Vegas missed a golden opportunity to tie the game or take the lead.

By the end of the night, the Aviators had gone 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position, leaving 9 men on-base.

First baseman Carlos Perez went 1-for-2 with a home run collecting his second hit of the series, both of which have been longballs.

He also walked twice and scored a run.

That was the second home run of the night for Las Vegas but the first to actually jump the fence as center fielder Skye Bolt hit an inside-the-park homer in the third inning.

Left fielder Seth Brown made his 2021 Aviator debut after playing more than the first half of the season with Oakland’s big-league club.

Brown returned to the tune a 2-for-5 night with a run scored and two strikeouts including the game-ending strikeout.

Bolt was the tying-run at second base when Brown struck out.

Starting pitcher Homer Bailey (1-1) suffered his first loss of the season after going five full, allowing five runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

The nine hits and five runs allowed are both season-highs for him in just four games played with Las Vegas.

Tuesday, W, 8-6

For the second time in as many games, the Aviators had a chance with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to take control of the game.

After a brief injury break, catcher Francisco Peña sent a moonshot three-run home run over the fence, giving Las Vegas the 8-6 win in the series finale over Tacoma.

Peña extended his hitting streak to nine games after recording an RBI single in the second inning to put Las Vegas on the board.

Later in the seventh inning, he would hit a two-run home run to cut the lead to two.

The Aviators would not get closer than that.

Second baseman Nate Mondou hit a solo home run in the sixth inning after starting the series 2-for-21.

In his first Triple-A start, pitcher Kyle Friedrichs was bit by the first inning bug that plagued the Aviators all series long.

Friedrichs was taxed for five first inning runs, putting himself behind the eight-ball early against Tacoma from Las Vegas Ballpark.

After throwing 38 pitches in the first inning, he was lifted after allowing five runs on six hits in just two innings of work while striking out one and walking one.

Aside from that horrendous first inning, Las Vegas pitching settled down to face the minimum for the next four innings.

That was until the sixth inning when the Aviators allowed it’s first hit since the second inning, who eventually would come around to score.

Friedrichs avoided the loss while reliever Ben Bracewell picked up the win.

New-to-Vegas Sam Moll tallied his second save of the season.

After stealing the series finale, Las Vegas is now 21-21 at home.


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