MEMPHIS, Tennessee – The Memphis Redbirds (37-25) led 1-0 after seven innings, but the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) hit a three-run home run in the top of the eighth and took game one of the series Friday night at AutoZone Park, 3-1.
Kevin Herget struck out a season-high 10 batters in 7.0 shutout innings, and he allowed just five singles. Combined with Dakota Hudson’s 6.0 shutout innings last night and Daniel Poncedeleon’sfinal 2.0 innings of work on Thursday, Redbird starting pitchers have thrown 15.0-straight scoreless innings.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the seventh, when Tyler O’Neill walked, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error, and scored on an Alex Mejia single through a drawn-in infield on the 10th pitch of the at-bat. Mejia has driven in four runs in the last three games after driving in four in his previous 27 dating back to April 30.
Hector Mendoza came on in relief of Herget in the top of the eighth, and he allowed a walk and a single before getting a groundout. But Christian Walker hit a three-run home run after that to give the Aces a lead they would not relinquish.
The Redbirds loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but O’Neill flew out to end the threat. Andrew Knizner doubled in the bottom of the ninth, but two groundouts ended the ballgame.
With a walk tonight, O’Neill has drawn six walks in seven games since returning from St. Louis. He drew four walks in his first 45 games across the two levels.
Memphis was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base.
Memphis and Reno continue their series tomorrow night at 6:35 with postgame fireworks.