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Aviators cap homestand with third straight blowout win over Tacoma

Las Vegas hammers five more home runs, including two from center fielder Cody Thomas
June 23, 2021

Say this much about the 2021 Las Vegas Aviators: They may get knocked down from time to time, but don’t think for a second that you’re going to knock them out. That much was proven over a 72-hour stretch this week, when the Aviators answered a six-game losing skid with

Say this much about the 2021 Las Vegas Aviators: They may get knocked down from time to time, but don’t think for a second that you’re going to knock them out.

That much was proven over a 72-hour stretch this week, when the Aviators answered a six-game losing skid with three straight lopsided wins over the Tacoma Rainiers, the latest being Tuesday’s 14-6 beatdown that was enjoyed by a Reyes de Plata crowd of 6,613 at Las Vegas Ballpark.

After dropping three straight home games to the Reno Aces (by a combined score of 52-27), followed by three straight home losses to Tacoma (by a combined score of 21-12), the Aviators arrived at Las Vegas Ballpark for Sunday's matinee game against the Rainiers in must-win mode. If they wanted to stay in the hunt for a second straight division title, they had to figure out how to close their 12-game homestand with a flourish.

Well, they figured it out all right: Including Tuesday’s blowout win, Las Vegas (21-21) outscored Tacoma 43-15 over the final three games of the series, belting 13 home runs in the process. In fact, after going deep five times in Monday’s 15-6 rout of the Rainiers (22-18), the Reyes de Plata duplicated the effort with another five homers on Tuesday.

Center-fielder Cody Thomas paced Tuesday’s offensive assault, following a solo home run in the third inning with another solo blast in the seventh — giving him 11 homers on the season, including nine in the month of June and four in the past three days.

Aviators outfielder Cody Thomas drilled a pair of solo home runs in his team’s 14-6 victory over the Tacoma Rainiers on Tuesday at Las Vegas Ballpark. Thomas has been unconscious since May 31, batting .346 with 10 homers, five doubles, a triple, 23 runs and 24 RBI. Steve Spatafore | Las Vegas Aviators

In between Thomas’ two long balls, Las Vegas tallied 12 runs between the fourth and sixth innings, with Frank Schwindel (three-run shot) and Francisco Peña (solo shot) going back-to-back in the fifth, and Jacob Wilson (two-run shot) joining the home-run derby in the sixth.

As was the case in the previous two days, virtually every Reyes de Plata player who entered the game — be it at the plate or on the mound — contributed to Tuesday’s victory.

Offensively, everyone in Las Vegas’ lineup had at least one hit (with six players recording multiple hits); all but one player (right-fielder Greg Deichmann) scored at least run; and all but two players (catcher Carlos Pérez and third baseman Vimael Machín) had at least one RBI.

On the mound, starting pitcher Jesús Luzardo, who was sent to Las Vegas from the parent Oakland A’s on Monday, delivered three strong innings, yielding just one unearned run on two hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Fellow lefty A.J. Puk followed Luzardo, but continued his season-long struggles, surrendering four runs (three earned) on two hits (both home runs) and a walk while striking out one in 1 2/3 innings.

Thankfully for the Aviators, the quintet of relievers that followed Puk was masterful. James Naile, J.B. Wendelken, Grant Holmes, Jordan Weems and Reymin Guduan surrendered a combined one run on three hits and five walks while striking out five over the final 4 1/3 innings.

As a result of the bullpen's slam-the-door-shut effort, the Aviators head into Wednesday’s scheduled off day with something few thought they’d have after a 2-7 start to their 12-game homestand: a whole lot of momentum.

GAME NOTES: Thomas (2-for-3), Wilson (2-for-5), Machín (2-for-5), Schwindel (3-for-5), Peña (2-for-5) and Deichmann (2-for-4) were the six Aviators who finished with multiple hits. Also, Machín (three), Thomas (three), Schwindel (two) and Peña (two) scored multiple runs. … Schwindel caught fire over the final four games of the series against Tacoma, going 11-for-18 with four homers and 11 RBI. He continues to lead the team in home runs (16), RBI (40), hits (55), runs (39) and multi-hit games (16). He also continues to pace all of Triple-A West (formerly the Pacific Coast League) in hits and runs. … Wilson, who was placed in the leadoff spot Tuesday, went 11-for-27 (.407 average) against Tacoma with four home runs and 11 RBI. Of his 38 hits this season, 27 have gone for extra bases (11 homers, team-high 14 doubles, two triples). … Thomas hit safely in five of the six games against the Rainiers, going 9-for-25 (.360 average) with four homers, a triple, two walks, eight runs and nine RBI. Since May 31, he’s 27-for-78 (.346) with 10 homers, five doubles, a triple, 23 runs and 24 RBI. … Since the start of Sunday’s game, the Aviators have put at least one runner on base in 20 of the last 24 innings, including each of the final six innings in which they hit on Tuesday. … Las Vegas has now belted it least one home run in 17 straight games, two games shy of tying the franchise record. The 2019 squad went deep in 19 consecutive games.

ON DECK: Following Wednesday’s off day, the Aviators head to Salt Lake City for a six-game series against the Salt Lake Bees. They return to Las Vegas Ballpark on July 1 to kick off a six-game homestand against the Sacramento River Cats.

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