LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Las Vegas 51s plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to hang an 8-7 loss on the Nashville Sounds on Tuesday evening at Cashman Field in the opener of a four-game series.
The Las Vegas rally, which came against Sounds closer Donovan Hand, occurred after Hunter Morris had belted a go-ahead homer in the top of the ninth to stake the Sounds to a 7-6 advantage, the club's first lead in five games.
The heartbreaking defeat extended Nashville's losing streak to a season-high five games.
Las Vegas grabbed a 4-0 first-inning lead by belting a pair of home runs off Sounds starter Michael Blazek. Second baseman Daniel Muno put the home team on the board with a one-out solo homer, the infielder's eighth of the year, before Brandon Allen added a two-out, three-run shot to right.
The 51s tacked on another run in the second by taking advantage of a fielding error by Nashville second baseman Irving Falu. Muno singled home pitcher Joel Carreno, who had reached on the gaff.
Nashville jumped on the scoreboard in the fifth to snap a 13 2/3-inning scoreless stretch for the club. Robinzon Diaz (3-for-4) singled with one out against Carreno and raced home to score on Logan Schafer's two-out triple to center. Jeff Bianchi later added a two-run homer to left, his third of the year.
Las Vegas extended its lead to 6-3 in the home half of the fifth when Cory Vaughn delivered a two-out RBI single up the middle off Sounds reliever Brent Leach to bring home Allan Dyskstra, who was plunked to open the frame.
Carreno worked a quality start for the 51s, holding the Sounds to three runs while striking out eight batters over his six innings of action, but took a no-decision for his efforts.
After leaving a pair of runners in scoring position during a scoreless seventh, the Sounds broke through to tie the game with a three-run eighth inning against Ryan Reid.
Sean Halton led off with a single, moved to third on a Caleb Gindl single, and scored from third on a passed ball. After pinch-hitter Jeremy Hermida drew a walk and Hector Gomez moved the runners into scoring position with a groundout, Diaz leveled the contest at 6-6 with a two-run single up the middle that chased Reid from the contest.
Morris led off the ninth with his team-leading ninth home run of the year, a blast to right off Las Vegas reliever Buddy Carlyle.
The 51s didn't go down without a fight against Hand in the bottom of the ninth, however, rallying to hand Nashville its sixth last at-bat defeat of the year.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. Travis d'Arnaud followed with a comebacker to Hand and the hurler had Nieuwenhuis caught in a rundown between second and third, but he delivered the ball late to second and both runners were safe on the fielder's choice. Cesar Puello followed with a game-tying RBI double and, three batters later following a groundout and an intentional walk to load the bases, Vaughn slapped a game-ending single to center.
The teams continue the series with another 9:05 p.m. CT matchup on Wednesday night. Right-hander Taylor Jungmann (2-3, 6.12) will make the start for the Sounds and face Las Vegas right-hander Logan Verrett (5-2, 4.79).