Wheeler Struggles, Bullpen Implodes, Rally In Ninth Falls Just Short For Vegas

Las Vegas 12, Tacoma 13 

The night did not look promising for Zack Wheeler as the first two hitters led off the game with back-to-back doubles, and before you could blink, the 51s were down 1-0. Wheeler settled down after that and retired the next three batters in order, including two strikeouts.

Wheeler cruised through the next three innings, as he did not allow a hit and surrendered just one walk.

In the fifth inning, Wheeler’s control issues resurfaced. The big righty let up a leadoff home run, and then proceeded to get the next two batters out. Wheeler then allowed four straight batters to reach base. Two walks and a single loaded the bases, and a double plated two runs, before a strikeout ended the inning. In the sixth, he gave up another leadoff homer, followed by a hit batter, and was pulled from the game.

The bullpen came in and was initially solid, as Gonzalez Germen struck out four over two innings in relief of Wheeler. Greg Burke struck out both batters he faced after replacing Germen, and has not allowed a run since being sent down.

However, the ninth inning was a different story, as the implosion began when Justin Hampson allowed the first two runners to reach base.  Greg Peavey came in and just did not have any command, walking three batters, giving up a hit, and allowing three runs to score, before being lifted without recording an out. Armando Rodriguez came in with the bases loaded and nobody out, and allowed four more runs to cross the plate, giving Tacoma a 13-10 lead that they would not relinquish.

Offensively, Andrew Brown continued his torrid pace, driving in three more runs tonight, and is now batting .351. Brown trails only Josh Satin, who leads the 51s batting .362. Satin had three more hits tonight, and scored two runs, while driving in another. Flores doubled and scored a run batting in the five-hole, and Omar Quintanilla hit a three-run shot. Two runs scored in the ninth on a throwing error after Zach Lutz hit a grounder, but the rally fell just short.

The recently demoted Kirk Nieuwenhuis did not have a great night at the plate. He was able to get the barrel on the ball for an RBI single in a four-run second inning, but ended the night wearing the golden sombrero, striking in his final four at-bats.

The offensive onslaught continues, as the 51s have now plated 10-runs for the fourth time in their last five contests,

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