A night after sustaining the most lopsided defeat against the Las Vegas 51s (3-4) in franchise history, the Fresno Grizzlies (4-3) were in no mood for a repeat on Wednesday evening. A second-inning five-spot allowed Fresno to lead throughout, in a 7-4 victory in the desert, evening the series. The seven runs and 14 hits are each new season highs for the Grizzlies through seven games.
Preston Tucker opened the scoring with his first homer of the season to right field, a two-run shot after A.J. Reed led the second inning with a single. Reed would open and close the inning at the plate, as three more Fresno runs came in on a Juan Centeno RBI double to the gap in right (scored Reid Brignac, walk), a Tony Kemp run-scoring groundout (scored Jon Kemmer, single) and a Colin Moran (2-for-5) RBI single up the middle which scored Centeno. Reed and Centeno each went 3-for-4 on the evening, the first three-hit individual efforts for the Grizzlies on the young season.
The early outburst spelled a quick exit for Las Vegas starter Ricky Knapp, who lasted just two innings. All five runs allowed were earned on five hits, with two walks and two strikeouts for the right-hander.
A Jayce Boyd RBI double in the second and a Travis Taijeron solo homer (2) to lead off the fourth tightened things up, making the score 5-2. But Moran added his second RBI knock of the night on a single to left field in the sixth, scoring Brignac who led the frame with a base hit. Brignac (2-for-3) was moved into scoring position by Centeno's second hit and a Kemp groundout, for a 6-2 Fresno lead. Kemp and Tyler White each singled in the contest, extending their twin current club-best hit streaks to six games to begin the season.
Keegan Yuhl, making his sixth career Triple-A start for Fresno, lined up a quality start by scattering five hits and two earned runs in six innings. The fourth-year pro struck out five with four walks and induced a pair of double plays.
The 51s pieced together a three-hit inning off the Grizz bullpen in the seventh, and scored twice on a Matt Reynolds RBI single and an Amed Rosario sac fly. The Vegas momentum was stymied quickly however, as Brignac led off the eighth with his first home run as a Grizzly. The solo shot lined to right field made it a 7-4 game.
That would be more than enough for the back end of the Fresno bullpen. Dayan Diaz scorched Las Vegas in the eighth for two strikeouts and a foul popout to Centeno behind the plate. That set up James Hoyt for the save chance in the ninth, and he worked around a two-out single and ended the game with a strikeout in his first appearance since Saturday. Through three appearances, Hoyt has struck out five in three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, no walks with five strikeouts.
Game three of four in Las Vegas will be Thursday night at Cashman Field. Probable starters are 2016 PCL Pitcher of the Year Brady Rodgers (1-0, 1.50) for the Grizzlies, and Donovan Hand (0-1, 10.13) for the 51s. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.