Four wins in five attempts for Las Vegas to end road trip
It was the bounce back series performance for the Las Vegas Aviators that was much needed coming off the team’s first series loss of the year.
To counteract that first series loss, Las Vegas responded by taking four of five away from the Tacoma Rainiers.
The one postponed game leaves the Aviators a half game behind the Salt Lake Bees (27-21) for first place in the Pacific Coast League West.
So far this year, Las Vegas is 8-3 against Tacoma with 12 more meetings scheduled, not including the makeup date yet to be announced for the postponed contest.
Overall, the Aviators are 13-10 on the road this year.
Now, the team heads back to the friendly confines of the Las Vegas Ballpark when the team welcomes in the Sacramento River Cats for a six-game series.
The series is set to begin Tuesday, May 31 with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Las Vegas is 4-2 against Sacramento this year with three shutouts in those six games. The Aviators hold a 2-1 record in those shutout games.
The series against the River Cats marks the start of a nine-game homestand for the Aviators.
Tuesday, L, 7-2
A loss in the series opener for Las Vegas brings about the second three-game losing streak of the season for the club, losing to Tacoma, 7-2.
It’s the team’s first three-game losing streak since the opening series of the year.
All runs scored by both teams were scored via the home run. In addition, Tacoma had somebody go deep twice as Las Vegas gave up three total.
Two of those home runs were given up by starting pitcher Collin Wiles.
In the bottom of the third inning, three straight two-out hits set the tone for the Rainiers.
A single from left fielder Jarred Kelenic started things followed by a two-run home run by designated hitter Brian O’Keefe.
Finally, the third swing added another run to the home team’s total as right fielder Erick Mejia did the damage.
He would cause more later.
Wiles (3-4) has allowed nine home runs so far this year with seven coming in the month of May. He was taxed for four runs on six hits over five innings pitched with one strikeout recorded.
Relief pitcher Aaron Brown issued a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the eighth inning. The walked batter would get into scoring position on a wild pitch from Brown
From there, Brown would issue another walk before serving up another home run ball to Mejia, who this time struck for three runs.
A double and another walk would force Brown out of the game, leaving after giving up three runs on two hits.
He has given up nine earned runs in 9.1 innings pitched this May.
Las Vegas center fielder Billy McKinney went deep for the only Aviators runs of the night
He hit his two-run home run in the top of the fifth inning that scored right fielder Drew Jackson.
It’s McKinney’s second home run in the last seven days
He went 1-for-1 with three walks.
Wednesday, W, 3-1
The Aviators scored first and last en route to a 3-1 win over the Rainiers that ended a three-game skid for the team.
Las Vegas center fielder Billy McKinney struck again as he hit a solo home run with two outs in the first inning.
McKinney has now homered in back-to-back games and now has three home runs through nine Triple-A games this season. He had four minor league home runs in 36 Triple-A games in 2019.
He added another single later for a 2-for-2 night with a single, home run, run batted in, two runs scored and two walks.
Two games into this series, McKinney is still perfect with a 3-for-3 stat line as he’s tallied a single, two home runs, three RBI, three runs scored and five walks.
The other star of the night came from the seven-hole in the lineup as third baseman Jonah Bride made his Triple-A debut.
The 26-year old recorded his lone hit in the ninth inning when he drove in two runs on a double.
Bride’s double drove in McKinney, who led the inning with a single and first baseman Dermis Garcia, who recorded a two-out single.
Starting pitcher Jared Koenig pitched seven shutout innings, allowing three hits while striking out nine and walking three.
Koenig (4-2) now has a 2.30 earned run average so far this season.
A no-decision snapped a four-game win streak for Koenig after reliever Sam Selman blew a potential save situation.
Selman allowed a run on a hit in an inning of work while tallying a strikeout and walk.
He would eventually get the win while fellow reliever Parker Markel got his first save of the year.
Thursday, W, 5-2
The home run ball powered Las Vegas to its second straight win following a 5-2 win over Tacoma Thursday night.
By the fourth inning, the Aviators had taken full control of the game for good.
Left fielder Dalton Kelly got things started for the road team by hitting his fourth home run of the year in the third inning out of the nine-hole.
That hit was the third of three straight hits to open the frame and was a three-run home run after singles from first baseman Jonah Bride and right fielder Vince Fernandez.
Bride would hear his name called again as he homered an inning later with two outs.
His home run drove in designated hitter Matt Davidson as well.
Bride now has four RBIs in two games played with Las Vegas this year with all four coming with two outs.
Kelly and Bride combined to go 3-for-6, accounting for all five of the Las Vegas runs.
Tacoma scored first and led 1-0 after the first inning off one hit. From there, the Rainiers would record a run on two more hits the rest of the way.
Starting pitcher Adam Oller (3-0) continued his perfect start to the year with a dominating six-inning performance.
He gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits in six innings of work while striking out six and walking three.
Oller now has a 1.42 ERA for the year.
Relievers Kirby Snead and Domingo Tapia combined to hurl three hitless shutout innings to slam the door shut.
Snead was given the hold while Tapia recorded his first save of the year.
Friday, W, 6-2
Three first inning runs earned starting pitcher Adrian Martinez his first win of the season after a 6-2 final in favor of Las Vegas.
It’s also the team’s third straight win.
Martinez was winless through his first seven Triple-A starts of the year. However, a six-inning pitching performance where he gave up two runs on five hits led him to victory.
Three of those hits were of the extra-base variety and all came in the first three innings of the game.
The performance brings his ERA down to 6.17 from 6.83 to start the day.
Las Vegas’ early runs came off back-to-back doubles in the first inning.
The first of which came in the form of an RBI double from designated hitter Dermis Garcia, driving in catcher Shea Langeliers.
It marked the eighth double of the year for Garcia, who moved into a tie with infielder Vimael Machín for the team lead in that department.
Garcia would later homer.
The second first inning double came off the bat of third baseman Jonah Bride.
His double was a two-run double that drove in Garcia along with first baseman Matt Davidson.
Both Garcia and Bride had three hits on the night out of the fifth and sixth slots in the Aviators lineup.
Garcia went 3-for-5 with a single, double and home run, two RBIs and three runs scored.
Bride went 3-for-3 with two singles, a double, two RBIs, run scored and a walk.
In just three games played with Las Vegas this season, Bride is batting .545.
Saturday, PPD (Rain)
Due to rain, Saturday’s game between Las Vegas and Tacoma was postponed.
Sunday, W, 10-8
The bounce back series for the Aviators was completed following a 10-8 win in the series finale against the Rainiers.
Las Vegas’ high-powered offense fought off several comeback efforts from Tacoma. This included the home team cutting the deficit to one-run on three separate occasions.
A four-run first inning opened things up as center fielder Billy McKinney hit a home run four pitches into the contest.
It was McKinney’s third home run of the series and his fourth home run in his last 11 games.
McKinney tallied 16 total bases in five games after he hit an RBI single in the fourth inning of this one.
Right fielder Vince Fernandez also hit a three-run home run with two outs in the first inning.
That marked the seventh Las Vegas home run of the five-game series.
Fernandez also hit an RBI single in the ninth inning for the game’s final run.
He went 3-for-5 with two singles, a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored.
Third baseman Vimael Machín, first baseman Dermis Garcia and catcher Jonah Bride also recorded RBIs.
Fernandez, Machín and Bride were also the only Aviators with three-hit nights.
Bride is now batting .600 in four games played with Las Vegas this season.
Six Aviators pitchers were used in order to get the victory with right-hander Parker Dunshee starting matters.
He was given the no-decision after going 3.2 innings of work, allowing five runs on five hits while striking out five and walking two.
Dunshee now has a 7.13 ERA on the year after going 1-3 with a 10.35 ERA in the month of May.
Six-foot, nine-inch righty Brian Howard (2-1) got the win after going 1.1 innings, allowing a run on two hits. He also struck out two.
Left-handed reliever Aaron Brown picked up his second save of the year, pitching a hitless shutout inning to close the door for good, striking out one in the process.