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Cesar Valdez struck out eight batters, and Brandon Allen hit his third home run of the season Monday night as the Reno Aces clawed past the Sacramento River Cats, 5-3, in the series finale at Raley Field.
Valdez (1-1) picked-up his first victory of the season, holding the River Cats to just two runs over six innings of work. The victory seals a series split for the Aces, their third in as many tries this season.
Reno played small ball most of the evening, striking first in the second inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Sacramento catcher Josh Donaldson threw wildly on a pick-off attempt at third base, chasing home two runs for a quick Aces lead.
The River Cats evened the score with two runs of their own in the fifth, but in the top half of the sixth inning, Reno put runners on the corners. Allen and Jeff Bailey successfully executed a double-steal, pushing across the go-ahead run.
Allen added two insurance runs in the eighth with a monster home run to right field, making the score 5-2. Sacramento would score once more in the bottom of the eighth, but it would get no closer.
Jason Urquidez tossed two innings to pick-up a hold for Reno, and T.J. Beam came on to slam the door with a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save.
Graham Godfrey (0-1) surrendered three runs on four hits in 5.1 innings of work and was tabbed with the loss for Sacramento.
Allen and Cole Gillespie paced a six-hit Aces offensive attack.
The Aces now head to Fresno to begin a four-game set with the Grizzlies at Chukchansi Park. The series begins on Tuesday night, with Aces RHP Bryan Augenstein (0-1, 7.59 ERA) slated to face Grizzlies RHP Eric Hacker (2-0, 0.79 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PT.
The Aces return home Saturday, April 24 for a four-game series against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Tickets for all Aces games start at just $7, and are available by calling the Reno Aces box office at (775) 334-7000 or by visiting www.RenoAces.com.
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