SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - The Reno Aces began the last leg of their longest road trip of the season with a nine-to-five loss against the Salt Lake Bees Tuesday night at Smith's Park, marking their first loss to the team all season. Left-hander and Arizona Diamondbacks number one prospect Anthony Banda finished after five innings and allowed six runs on four hits while surrendering a season-high six walks. Ildemaro Vargas and Ketel Marte highlighted the Aces quieted offense respectively. Vargas finished on a two-for-four night with two doubles while Marte went two-for-five and batted in four of the five Aces runs.
Reno, the Pacific Northern's best, got the offense started quickly against Salt Lake, the Pacific Southern's best. Vargas, who has collected a hit in eight of his last nine games, led off with a two-strike double to left field. After a strikeout to Marte, who started defensively in centerfield for the first time all season, and consecutive walks to Oswaldo Arcia and Christian Walker to load the bases, Socratés Brito knocked a deep sacrifice fly ball to centerfield to score the Aces first run of the contest.
After getting out of the third inning with the bases loaded after scattering three walks, Banda ran into more trouble in the fourth. Following two quick outs dealt by Banda, a walk initiated the rally the Bees were waiting for when they collected two consecutive doubles followed by a two-run home run by Michael Bourn, giving Salt Lake the 4-1 lead.
The Aces responded in the top of the fifth with two runs of their own to minimize the deficit to within a run thanks to Marte's double down the right field line to score Ronnie Freeman, who walked, and Ildemaro Vargas who was hit by a pitch.
In the Bees sixth, after a leadoff double, walk and error, Banda exited with the bases loaded and no out in the one-run contest. Reliever Kaleb Fleck took the mound in place for the southpaw starter. After starting the outing with a swinging strikeout, Fleck was unable to keep the runners put as he allowed a single the very next at bat to Bourn, which scored the only two runs of the half giving the Bees the 6-3 lead.
In the seventh, after the Aces added on a run to cut the Bees lead to two runs, Salt Lake answered in the bottom half with two more runs on the board on Nolan Fontana's two-run home run to increase the Bees advantage to 8-4.
Salt Lake plated their ninth and final run of the contest in the eighth inning on a two-out passed ball thrown by reliever Matt Stites to catcher Ronnie Freeman, scoring Bourn, who walked with one out.
With their backs against the wall, the Aces rallied together for one last run coming on Marte's two-out single to centerfield, logging the sixth and final hit of the night for the Aces.
The game one loss brings Reno to a record of 40-25 on the season, still four games up in the Pacific Northern Division after Tacoma's loss to El Paso. The series against Salt Lake continues tomorrow. First pitch of game two is slated for 6:05 p.m. Reno returns to Greater Nevada Field on June 17th where they will face the Las Vegas 51's for a four-game series. Tickets are on-sale now at www.renoaces.com or by calling (775) 334-4700. Follow the club all season long on Twitter (@Aces) or like the team on Facebook.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.