Brandon Allen Propels Las Vegas 51s to 6-4 Victory Over Salt Lake
The Las Vegas 51s extended their winning streak to five games on Monday as left fielder Brandon Allen drove in three in a 6-4 victory over the Salt Lake Bees. The win extended the 51s’ lead over the El Paso Chihuahuas to 4.5 games in the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Southern Division and continues the club’s dominance at home, now 22-11 in Cashman Field.
Drew Rucinski started for Salt Lake and pitched quite well. Making his 10th start this season for the Bees, Rucinsky allowed just two runs, one unearned in five innings of work.
The first of those runs came in the bottom of the second, when the Las Vegas 51s took advantage of an error and manufactured a run out of it. Alex Castellanos led off with a single and moved to second on a throwing error by the Bees’ short stop. Brooks Conrad grounded to first base to move Castellanos to third, and Allen followed with a ground out to first as well, this time bringing the runner home to make it 1-0 Las Vegas.
In the bottom of the fourth the home team plated another run, and it was the two-out rally that did it for them. Conrad lined a hard single into right field and came around to score on an Allen double to the wall in the center. That made the score 2-0.
That appeared to be plenty enough runs for Las Vegas starter Darin Gorski, who was breezing through the first five innings. The left-hander retired 15 of the 17 batters he faced, allowing only a double in the third and fourth innings to deny him perfection. During the span he struck out five, including two in the second and two more in the fifth.
Gorski seemed in complete control until a home run by Kaleb Cowart to start the sixth seemed to unhinge him momentarily. Cowart’s first home run of the year cut the Las Vegas lead in half, and it wouldn’t be long before that lead had turned into a deficit. Gary Brown followed the home run with a single, stole second, his fifth of the season, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Ryan Jackson followed with a fly ball that hit off the wall for a double, scoring Brown to tie the game. C. J. Cron drilled a double of his own, and just like that the Salt Lake Bees had the lead, 3-2.
Trailing for the first time in the game, the Las Vegas 51s responded right away. Edgar Ibarra took over for Salt Lake and, after striking out Johnny Monell, gave up a double to Castellanos. Ibarra struck out Conrad for the second out of the inning, but Allen delivered a double over the center fielder’s head that tied the game. Travis Taijeron drew a walk, and Jayce Boyd followed with a double that scored both runners, restaking Las Vegas to a two-run lead.
In the bottom of the eighth the 51s extended their lead to three. Back-t0-back singles by Conrad and Allen moved Conrad to third, with Allen being erased from the base paths when he attempted to stretch his single into a double. Taijeron’s bloop single brought Conrad home to make it 6-3.
In the ninth the Bees got a rally going. Scott Rice was pitching for Las Vegas and allowed just a walk to the three batters he faced. Jon Velasquez then came in. Alfredo Marte, the runner at first, advanced to second on defensive indifference and scored on a single by Cowart. That cut the deficit to two, but that is as close as Salt Lake would get, falling 6-4.
Gorski (4-5) earned the victory, going 6 innings, allowing 6 hits and 3 runs, while striking out 6. Velasquez earned his fourth save of the season. Ibarra (2-2) took the loss. Allen finished 3-4 with a run scored, 3 RBI and 2 doubles.
By Robert Pannier