The Tacoma Rainiers have never won a series against the Reno Aces.
But after taking the first two games in the current home series and racing out to an early five-run lead in the third game, the Rainiers were in great position to change all that.
Ultimately, it was more of the same, however, as a dreadful fifth inning and one big swing from Josh Bell kept the visiting Aces right on pace to continue their winning ways over Tacoma.
Reno overcame a five-run deficit, scoring five runs in the fifth, and Bell crushed a solo home run over the center field wall to power Reno to a 6-5 victory over the Rainiers in Pacific Coast League play at Cheney Stadium on Monday night.
The winner came in the top of the seventh when Bell took Tacoma reliever Brian Moran, who was credited with the loss, deep to break up the tie.
The Rainiers had runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of ninth, but Reno’s Mike DeMark got Darren Ford to fly out to end the contest.
Tacoma, already eliminated from playoff contention, fell to 55-75.
Reno improved to a PCL Pacific Northern Division-best 73-57. The Aces remain 4 games ahead of Colorado Springs, a 12-5 winner over Salt Lake, in the division with 14 games remaining in the regular season.
The Rainiers, 0-15 lifetime in series against the Aces, can still post their first series win against the Aces when the two clubs close out their four-game series today. Tacoma has compiled an 18-45 record against Reno since the teams first faced off in 2009.
Nick Franklin set the tone early, giving Tacoma a 1-0 lead with his seventh home run this season.
Tacoma followed up Franklin’s shot by scoring a pair of runs in both the second and third innings to grab a quick 5-0 advantage, getting a two-run double from Guillermo Quirorz and RBI singles from Franklin Gutierrez and Alex Liddi.
Rainiers starter Erasmo Ramirez failed to allow a run, surrendering just two hits, through the first four innings.
Things, however, soured with two outs in the fifth when the Aces got RBI singles from Adam Eaton and Taylor Harbin and a two-run single from Mike Jacobs to cut the deficit to 5-4.
The equalizer came on a throwing error by second baseman Carlos Triunfel during a double steal.
The 5-run inning ended the night for Ramirez, who gave up five runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts.
Tacoma closes out its home series with Aces today. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. D.J. Mitchell (0-2, 3.26 ERA) will start for the Rainiers. Reno counters with Zach Kroeneke (6-3, 5.66).