Robert Brender, @robertbrender on TwitterLas Vegas 51s 1, @ Nashville Sounds (MIL) 3 Final (8)
After playing a doubleheader Monday in Vegas and a long flight to Tennessee early Tuesday morning, the 51s were understandably tired when they opened a four game series in Nashville with a 3-1 loss. On top of the aforementioned challenges, the game was delayed two hours at the start because of rain and eventually called in the 8th inning when the rain returned.
22-year-old Rafael Montero (pictured) got his 10th start of the season in AAA and had one of his better outings the last few weeks. The righty lasted six innings, surrendering six hits and a pair of earned runs, with seven strikeouts and three walks. Of the six hits he allowed, one was for extra bases, a solo homer for Josh Prince in the 6th inning. The seven strikeouts match his season high at the 3A level, and it’s the fewest runs he’s allowed in a full start since July 6 (he gave up 3ER each of his last 2GS and only threw 2IP July 11). On the negative side; Montero walked three for the third consecutive appearance and, this time, did it in a park that plays more fairly than most in the PCL.
3B Zach Lutz had two of the 51s five hits. It’s his second straight multi-hit game and third in his last four starts. Unfortunately, and somewhat surprisingly, the extra base hits haven’t come with the regularity they did in June before he was called up for a short stint in the big leagues. Lutz has gone 15 games without a homerun (7/11 vs. Tucson) and has only four doubles in that span. The good sign is, he’s putting the ball in play and not striking out (2K in his last 29 at-bats), while walking 11 times this month.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis drove in the only 51s run with a pinch-hit single in the 8th inning. It was Kirk’s second rbi and third hit since being demoted back to Vegas a few days ago.
Notes: Wilmer Flores was 0 for 3, his 1st game without a hit since returning from injury….Matt den Dekker had the 51s only XBH, a double (5)….Ruben Tejada was 0 for 3….Jordany Valdespin was 0 for 2 but was on base twice with walks.