ROUND ROCK, Texas - Andy Tracy's one-out solo homer sparked a four-run fourth inning, and the Reno Aces never relinquished the lead en route to a 9-7 victory over the Round Rock Express in Monday night's Pacific Coast League series opener at The Dell Diamond. The Express (26-18) suffered consecutive losses for only the sixth time this season and will attempt to stave off the season's first three-game skid Tuesday. The Aces (27-18) won their league-best 15th road game.
Round Rock took a 5-3 lead when Luis Cruz blasted a tie-breaking, two-run homer to left-center with one out in the third. However, the lead was short-lived as the Aces batted around in the fourth and scored four runs on four hits, two walks and an Express error. After Tracy's home run, Express starter Derek Hankins got Konrad Schmidt to fly out, but the next five batters reached base safely.
Former Express member Cody Ransom singled and moved to second on Evan Frey's walk. Collin Cowgill then singled to score Ransom and tie the game. Brandon Allen then doubled home Frey, and Cowgill scored with Round Rock center fielder Joey Butler misplayed the ball.
Reno and Round Rock traded runs in the sixth and eighth innings. Butler's RBI double gave the Express runners at second and third with no outs in the eighth, but Bryan Shaw retired the next three batters to escape the jam. Daniel Stange worked around a leadoff strikeout-wild pitch for a scoreless ninth, recording his first save.
Hankins (5-2) took the loss, allowing seven runs - six earned - on seven hits and four walks with three strikeouts over 5.0 innings.
Reno starter Zach Duke (1-0) picked up the victory in his first Triple-A rehab start. He allowed five runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts over 5.1 innings.
Wily Mo Pena blasted a 415-foot home run off the top of the Home Run Porch in left field, giving the Aces a first-inning lead. Round Rock's Brad Nelson responded with a 425-foot homer off the top of the grounds crew shed beyond the centerfield wall in the bottom of the first. Esteban German's two-out RBI single in the second tied the game 3-3.
Eight of nine starters hit safely for the Express. Cruz and Nelson each had two hits and two RBI, while Doug Deeds added a pair of hits.
Cowgill had Reno's lone multiple-hit game, going 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored.
Round Rock and Reno continue the four-game series Tuesday with a 7:05 p.m. CDT first pitch. Right-hander Scott Feldman (1-0, 4.50 ERA) is scheduled to make his second Triple-A rehab start for the Express. Southpaw Zach Kroenke (4-0, 5.64 ERA) is slated to start for the Aces.