Reno’s team nickname is the “Aces”. If any of their other pitchers perform like Andrew Chafin did Thursday night, the moniker is well deserved.
Chafin allowed just four hits, all singles, and didn’t walk a batter during nine shutout innings as Diamondbacks affiliate Reno downed Las Vegas, 6-0, in Game 2 of the Pacific Coast League semifinals. The best-of-five series is now tied at 1-1.
Mets top prospect Noah Syndergaard is slated to take the hill Friday night at Aces Ballpark. He’ll try to be the first Las Vegas starting pitcher in this series to last more than 4.1 innings.
Rafael Montero allowed three runs in 4.1 innings on Wednesday, but the 51s won in comeback fashion. There was no late-inning magic on Thursday, however, after Matthew Bowman gave up six runs in four innings.
Bowman, a 23-year-old selected in the 13th round of the 2012 draft, put himself on the prospect map with an excellent season split between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas.
But Bowman turned in one of his worst starts of the year on Thursday, the 51s’ last home game of the series. He had allowed four runs or more just three times during 23 regular season starts, before his blow-up on Thursday; though Bowman did give up five runs in a short playoff tune-up on Aug. 31. Turns out it was less a tune-up and more a preview of what was to come.
Diamondbacks shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed singled to start the game and Bowman issued back-to-back walks to Roger Kieschnick and Andy Marte. The walks were particularly uncharacteristic of Bowman, who walked only 36 in 134.2 regular season innings. Ex-Met Mike Jacobs followed with the big blow, a grand slam to left that gave Reno a 4-0 lead before Bowman had even recorded an out.
Bowman gave up another run in the first and one more in the fourth before the 51s bullpen shut Reno down. The trio of Giancarlo Alvarado, Ryan Reid and Zack Thornton allowed one hit and one walk in five scoreless innings of relief, striking out four.
But it mattered little, given the way Chafin was pitching for Reno.
Anthony Seratelli was 2-for-3, Kevin Plawecki and Taylor Teagarden each singled, Allan Dykstra was hit by a pitch and Andrew Brown reached on a fielding error. That was the extent of the 51s’ offense against Chafin, who didn’t allow a Las Vegas runner to reach second base until the ninth inning.