In separate games Monday night, the Las Vegas Aviators and Salt Lake Bees surrendered a combined 29 runs in a pair of losses. So when the two teams got together at Las Vegas Ballpark on Tuesday to kick off their four-game series, nobody in either dugout would've predicted a pitcher's duel. But that's precisely what happened.
In the second Copa de la Diversión ("Fun Cup") game of the season, the Aviators morphed into the Reyes de Plata and scored a pair of eighth-inning runs to pull out a 3-1 victory before a crowd of 8,144. The win followed Monday's ugly 14-3 loss to the Fresno Grizzlies, while Salt Lake was coming off a 15-0 defeat in El Paso.
Left fielder Seth Brown delivered the game-winning hit for Las Vegas, a sharp single that took a bad hop over Bees shortstop Wilfredo Tovar and scooted into left field, allowing Jorge Mateo to score from third base. The Reyes de Plata added an insurance run moments later when Beau Taylor scored on a wild pitch by Bees reliever Jake Jewell (0-2).
Tanner Anderson, who was originally scheduled to start Wednesday's game against Salt Lake, came out of the bullpen and pitched three strong innings to earn the victory. Anderson (3-2) allowed just one hit (a two-out single in the ninth) and a walk while striking out two.
Anderson's performance followed a gem by Reyes de Plata starter Daniel Mengden. The right-hander yielded only a first-inning run on a sacrifice fly and ended up scattering six hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings.
Matching Mengden pitch for pitch was Salt Lake starter Dillon Peters. The southpaw tossed five scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and two walks while fanning eight. Peters departed with a 1-0 lead, but that quickly disappeared in the sixth inning when Taylor greeted Salt Lake reliever Jeremy Rhoades with a leadoff single and scored on Corban Joseph's two-out RBI double.
Just how much did both pitching staffs control Tuesday's action? There were twice as many strikeouts (20) as there were hits (10) in what was by far the lowest-scoring game of the season at Las Vegas Ballpark.
Game Notes: With Wednesday's victory, Las Vegas improved to 2-0 this season as the Reyes de Plata … Mateo led off the eighth inning with a single and stole second, his team-leading 11th theft of the season. He's also now hit safely in 27 of 30 games this season. … Joseph continued his hot hitting, adding a second-inning single to his six-inning double for his fifth consecutive multihit game. During that stretch, he's 12-for-20 with a home run, three doubles, three runs and five RBI. … Edwin Jackson (0-0, 3.86 ERA) makes his second start of the season for the Aviators on Wednesday when he opposes fellow right-hander Nick Tropeano (0-1, 7.56).
Bolt On His Way Back: As expected, the Oakland A's - parent club to the Aviators - activated first baseman Matt Olson from the injured list Tuesday. To make room for Olson on the 25-man roster, the A's optioned outfielder Skye Bolt back to Las Vegas. Bolt appeared in three games with Oakland, going 1-for-4. In 22 games with Las Vegas, the 25-year-old is batting .325 with six home runs, eight doubles and 27 RBI. He's expected to rejoin the Aviators by the weekend.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.