Returning home from a rough series loss in Reno during which they had two blown saves, Las Vegas (29-25) aimed to turn things around against Tacoma Saturday night. Rafael Montero started, and was staked to a two-run lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Dilson Herrera led off with a walk and went to third on an errant pick-off attempt by Rainiers pitcher Sam Gaviglio. T.J. Rivera grounded out to third allowing Herrera to score. Then Johnny Monell sent a line-drive over the wall in right for a solo homer.
Unfortunately, Montero gave back those two runs in the top of the second. Giving up three hits in the inning including a double and triple, Montero was getting hit hard. In the third another run came in on three more hit and a walk. Seven hitters came to the plate in both of those innings. Tacoma scored a fourth run in the fifth on consecutive doubles. Montero gave up four runs on nine hits in seven innings of work. He was helped out by a couple of double plays to limit the damage. But after the first inning, the 51s offense stalled and by the time Montero’s night was done, Vegas was still down 4-3.
On offense, Herrera hit a high arching home run in the bottom of the seventh to get the 51s a little closer. Paul Sewald came on in the eighth and struggled giving up a home run to designated hitter Dario Pizzano and a triple to center fielder Boog Powell. Powell came all the way home on an error. But Sewald has given up 12 runs, 8 earned, on 18 hits over his last 10 appearances.
In the bottom of the eighth, Brandon Nimmo doubled and scored on a double by Monell, but the rally was cut short when Monell was cut down at third trying to take an extra base.
They got the inning off to a good start with back-to-back doubles by Eric Campbell and Travis Taijeron to score one. With one out Gavin Cecchini kept things going with a single, driving in Taijeron. Kyle Johnson followed with a double to drive in Cecchini with the tying run. Herrera capped off the comeback with a single to drive in Johnson with the game-winner. The win is the second walk-off in the last three days, which may be just what Vegas needs to shake off the 1-3 series loss to Reno.
Herrera went 3-5 including the game-winning hit; he scored two runs and drove in two. He also hit a home run, his 9th of the year. Monell went 2-4 with two RBI, a run scored and a home run. Brandon Nimmo, Eric Campbell and Gavin Cecchini each had two hits with a run scored. T.J. Rivera had a single and has hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games. Box Score
Las Vegas continues the four game set against Tacoma on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. Seth Lugo will get the start.
(photos by Jennifer Nieves)