By Matt O’Donnell, Vallejo Times-Herald
Quality starts have not been that common for the Vallejo Admirals of late.
Benicia High grad Peter Reyes only went four innings on Thursday but gave the Admirals exactly what they needed against the Napa Silverados.
Reyes did not allow a run in his first start of 2018 as Vallejo snapped a four-game skid with a 5-2 win to start a Pacific Association series at Wilson Park.
“He was awesome. I mean we definitely needed that start,” Admirals manager P.J. Phillips said. “We had a four-game losing streak and we just needed him to give us four good innings and we shut it down after that.”
Reyes allowed four hits and walked three but did an excellent job working out of trouble, including a bases-loaded jam to end the fourth.
The Admirals (24-19) struck out 10 times in 4 2/3 innings against Napa starting pitcher Eric Thomas. In fact, Vallejo’s first hit was a bad-hop single from Chevy Clarke in the fourth inning. The Admirals’ second hit against Thomas was a bunt single by dAundray Van Slyke in the fifth. Somehow, Vallejo managed to take a 3-0 lead that inning and chase Thomas from the game.
“After losing four in a row, we had to have something like that,” said Vallejo catcher Cyle Figueroa, who knocked in two of the five runs. “Peter came out and did very well. We needed a start like that and then (Amilcar) Cruz and Brett (Schneider) did well so I think it was a productive day for the pitching staff.”
Cruz, pitching in his first game with the Admirals after playing in the Minnesota Twins organization, went 3 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs despite seven walks to earn the win. Schneider got four outs to earn his fourth save and lower his ERA to 1.06.
Schneider entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth and struck out Willy Salas to end the threat. He allowed two base runners himself in the ninth before getting a strikeout and flyout to end the game.
Thomas (0-2) suffered the loss on a night when the Admirals could not solve the left-hander early in the game but finally got to him in the fifth.
Brandon Fischer walked to lead off the inning, stole second and Van Slyke attempted to sacrifice him to third but Napa was slow to cover the bunt and Van Slyke reached first.
“Once I got the bunt down, I knew I could get to first unless they managed to make some kind of incredible play on it,” Van Slyke said.
Van Slyke stole second to put runners at second and third. Figueroa followed with a sacrifice fly to deep center to score Fischer and Rian Kiniry’s two-out double plated Van Slyke.
After a walk to Nick Akins Sr. Napa manager Tito Fuentes Jr. replaced Thomas with reliever Devontae Glenn, who walked Clarke on a close pitch to force in Kiniry for a 3-0 lead.
The Silverados (19-24) made it 3-1 in the sixth without a hit as Cruz walked three with Dominic Bethancourt’s sac fly knocking in Devon Ramirez.
But the Admirals added key insurance runs in the bottom half of that inning when Figueroa and Kiniry both had RBI doubles for a 5-1 lead.
The Silverados closed to 5-2 in the eighth but that’s as close as they would get.
On a rare night, Vallejo picked up ground on first-place San Rafael as well as second-place Sonoma as both teams lost to Martinez and Pittsburg, respectively.
Notes: Napa left fielder Chris Bono is the son of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Bono. … The Admirals stole five bases, two each from Clarke and Van Slyke and another from Fischer, who leads the team with 11. Schneider’s last five appearances have resulted in a win or save. … Akins, who was 0-for-3, is still stuck on 18 homers. His last long ball was July 8. … Vallejo’s three pitchers combined for 11 walks. … Saturday’s home game against Sonoma is called “Dog Days of Summer” and dogs will run the bases after the game.