Wilfredo Tovar Double Sends Las Vegas 51s Win Streak to 10
Sometimes you have to wonder if the Las Vegas 51s are simply toying with their Pacific Coast League opponents. Give them the hope that they are going to pull out a big win, then crush their hopes with a huge hit or a big out that crushes their dreams and leaves them thinking there is always tomorrow.
Sunday afternoon Las Vegas went looking to extend their win streak to double digits. Darin Gorski went to the hill for the 51s and, honestly, he had struggled early on this season, allowing 12 runs in his last 14 innings pitched, including eight in an April 21 start. If the Reno Aces were going to break the win streak, clearly this had to be the day. Ah, it would seem that way wouldn’t it?
Both Gorski and Aces starter Blake Beaven were cruising through the first four innings of the game. Gorski allowed a single hit through the first four innings, and had complete command of his pitches on this day.
Beaven was keeping the 51s off the scoreboard as well, but he was living dangerously. The Reno starter allowed back-to-back singles to lead off the first, before striking out the next two batters, and retiring the third on a ground out. He then gave up a single in second, a single and a walk in the third, and a hit by pitch in the fourth. Las Vegas was making good contact, but Beaven was getting outs when he needed them.
In the top of the fifth Gorski struck out the first two batters of the inning, then got a pop out to retire the side in order. He had allowed just one base runner through five innings.
The left-hander figured if he was going to get ahead in this game he would have to take matters into his own hands, and that is what he did. Gorski lined a double into the gap in leftfield to lead off the fifth inning. One out later Darrell Ceciliani walked, and Matt Reynolds followed with a double of his own, his 12th of the season, that scored both runners.
Sadly, a bad break cost the Las Vegas starter the lead. In the top of the sixth Trayvon Robinson led off with a double, and Cody Ransom reached on an error. Garrett Weber then singled to load the bases. Gorski remained calm, getting Kevin Frandsen to pop out for the first out. Peter O’Brien then hit a fly ball to centerfield. Robinson tagged up, running home from third. Travis Taijeron’s throw arrived just as Robinson reached home, but the ball deflected off of his foot and away from catcher Johnny Monell. Ransom raced from second all the way around to score to tie the game. It was a real tough break for Gorski, and a big moment for Reno. It is that kind of break that plays a pivotal role in ending a big winning streak. Not so fast.
Matt Reynolds took over for the Aces, and Las Vegas jumped all over him, crushing the hope that Reno had garnered from tying the score. Brandon Allen lined a single to lead off the inning, and Traijeron followed by drawing a walk. That brought Wilfredo Tovar to the plate. He ripped a Reynolds offering into leftfield, driving home both Allen and Taijeron to put the 51s back on top. One out later Danny Muno hit a ball to second baseman Jamie Romak, who was able to knock down the ball down but not get control. Tovar scored and the Las Vegas 51s were up 5-2.
From there the bullpen delivered. Cody Satterwhite, Scott Rice and Chase Bradford handled the Aces hitters in the seventh and eighth innings. In the ninth Jon Velasquez entered the game looking to close it out. The Aces were trailing but were not going down quietly. They mounted a rally by drawing a one out walk and a two out single that put runners at first and second. Zach Borenstein entered as a pinch-hitter with that word firmly in his mind – hope. A big hit could tie the game. Hope came to an end quickly, however, when Ceciliani caught his fly ball to centerfield to end the game, giving the Las Vegas 51s their 1oth straight win.
Gorski received a no-decision. He pitched extremely well, allowing 3 hits and a walk in 5.2 innings pitched while striking out 4. Zach Thornton (2-1) earned the victory. Velasquez recorded his second save of the season. Reynolds (0-2) took the loss.
Gorski not only pitched exceptionally well, but also went 2-2 at the plate with a run scored and a double. Tovar had the game winning hit in a 1-4 performance.
The Las Vegas 51s head to Albuquerque looking to extend their win streak to 11. The club won all seven games of their home stand and now look to improve their 6-6 road record. The Reno Aces welcome Sacramento to town for a four game series beginning tomorrow.
By Robert Pannier