Using history as a barometer, the Aviators seemed destined to snap their three-game losing skid in Tuesday’s series and homestand finale against the Salt Lake Bees. The reason: They took the field as their alter ego, the Reyes de Plata, which is something they had done nine previous times at
Using history as a barometer, the Aviators seemed destined to snap their three-game losing skid in Tuesday’s series and homestand finale against the Salt Lake Bees. The reason: They took the field as their alter ego, the Reyes de Plata, which is something they had done nine previous times at Las Vegas Ballpark since the start of the 2019 season.
Just how successful were the Reyes de Plata in those nine games? They won eight of them … while outscoring the opposition 84-46 (including a 10-7 victory over the Sacramento River Cats on May 11).
Unfortunately for the Reyes de Plata, their opponent Tuesday night was on a mission to defy that history — and defy it they did, in a big way.
The Bees' scorching-hot offense clubbed three more home runs, and five pitchers combined to dominate Las Vegas in a 12-0 shutout victory before a crowd of 5,214.
Brennon Lund (two-run homer in the sixth inning), Matt Thaiss (three-run homer in the seventh) and Jake Gatewood (solo homer in the eighth) all went deep for Salt Lake (9-9), which picked up its fourth straight one-sided victory at Las Vegas Ballpark. After dropping the first two games of the series by a combined score of 28-14, the Bees won the next four by a 36-10 margin. Along the way, Salt Lake pounded out 51 hits, including 13 home runs.
As impressive as the Bees’ offensive onslaught was, you could argue the pitching staff’s performance was even better. Two days after three pitchers combined on a one-hit, 5-0 victory — the first time the Aviators had been shutout in 79 games at Las Vegas Ballpark — five hurlers combined to hold Las Vegas to three singles and three doubles, with only one of those hits coming after the third inning.
In fact, Salt Lake relief pitchers Felix Peña, Tim Peterson, Austin Warren and Jose Quijada retired 18 of the final 21 Reyes de Plata hitters they faced, notching eight strikeouts — including six in a row to the end the game.
Just how rough a night was it for the Reyes de Plata? Only one baserunner got as far as third base (Greg Deichmann in the third inning). And after starting pitcher Grant Holmes and four relievers surrendered all 12 of Salt Lake’s runs between the fourth and eighth innings, manager Fran Riordan was forced to call on backup infielder Nate Mondue to pitch the ninth.
Mondue ended up being his team’s most effective hurler, retiring three of the four batters he faced while doing something the majority of Las Vegas’ pitchers couldn’t do in the final four games of this series: He kept the Bees from crossing home plate.
GAME NOTES: During the 2019 season, the Aviators were shutout four times, all on the road. … Holmes was outstanding through three innings, allowing just a single and a walk while facing one batter over the minimum and throwing only 45 pitches (28 strikes). However, he struggled with his control from there and ended up allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits and five walks with three strikeouts in four-plus innings. … Deichmann singled and doubled in his first two at-bats for the second consecutive game. He was the only Reyes de Plata hitter to have multiple hits. … The Bees out-homered the Aviators 19-6 in the six-game series. Through the first 12 games of the season, there have been 46 homers hit at Las Vegas Ballpark. … About the only thing Las Vegas did right Tuesday was contain Salt Lake slugger Jo Adell. After hammering six homers in the first five games of the series, Adell managed only an eighth-inning bloop single in five at bats.
PEREZ EYES OLYMPICS: Prior to Tuesday’s game, Riordan said catcher Carlos Perez will be placed on the temporary inactive list Thursday. The reason: Perez is traveling to West Palm Beach, Florida, to try out for Venezuela’s Olympic team. During Perez’s two-week absence, Austin Allen and Francisco Peña will handle the Aviators’ catching duties.
ON DECK: Following Wednesday’s scheduled day off, the Aviators will take off on a season-long 12-game road trip, starting Thursday in Sacramento. Oakland A’s left-hander Jésus Luzardo, who is recovering from a fractured pitching hand, is expected to join the Aviators on a rehab assignment and start the opener of the six-game series. Right-hander Paul Blackburn (0-1, 3.71 ERA) likely will replace Luzardo early in the game. The River Cats will counter with right-hander Shun Yamaguchi (0-2, 5.65). First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.
The Aviators and River Cats opened the 2021 season against each other earlier this month, with Las Vegas winning four of six games at Las Vegas Ballpark. Following the series in Sacramento, the Aviators will play six games in Albuquerque before returning to Las Vegas Ballpark on June 10 to start a 12-game homestand against Reno and Tacoma.
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