RENO - Maybe all the Reno Silver Sox needed to break out of their two-game losing streak was a little extra fire.
Maybe all they needed was to have the Fullerton Flyers take a 2-0, first-inning lead for the second day in a row to light their fuse. Maybe they just needed an excuse to let it all hang out.
As it turned out, the Sox got all three catalysts on Saturday and the result was a nine-run outburst over the first two innings and an eventual 10-8 victory over the Flyers in front of an announced crowd of 1,613 at Peccole Park.
The first-place Silver Sox improved to 19-10 and, in combination with Yuma's 6-2 win over second-place Long Beach, Reno upped its lead to 2 1/2 games over the Armada.
Fullerton, now 12-16, fell back into fifth behind Yuma, 6 1/2 games behind Reno.
Reno got off the game on the wrong foot and committed a throwing error to put Fullerton's first batter - Bret Levier - on base. Sox starter Hideki Nagasaka (2-0) then gave up a single and hit Rich Pohle with a pitch.
Fullerton first baseman Peanut Williams knocked in Levier with a sacrifice fly and left fielder Chad Chop put the Flyers up 2-0 with a double off the center-field wall.
But more than the two-run deficit, what really put that fire in the Silver Sox was when Fullerton starter Matt Lincoln (1-1) hit Richard Giannotti and Marcus Jensen with pitches, prompting both teams to leave their dugouts. Although no punches were thrown, after some heated words the Silver Sox blew up for five runs in the first inning, followed by four more in the second.
"Like I said (Friday), every day is a new day," said third baseman Edgar Varela, who went 2-for-5 and smashed a grand slam over the center-field wall to give the Sox a 9-2 lead in the second. "We needed a spark plug, like when the benches cleared. After that, the team exploded. Back in the dugout you could feel like this vibe. Then the spark plug turned on. From there the runs just kept going. It pumped the guys up, that situation."
The 25-year-old Varela, of Long Beach, Calif., entered the day with a .350 batting average, good enough for fourth place in the Golden Baseball League and tops for Reno (Victor Hall was hitting .365 for Reno before being called up to the minors recently).
After flying out to left in his first at bat, Varela found the sweet spot on the first pitch the second time around.
"The at bat before, I didn't let the ball get in on me," Varela said. "I got a good pitch (the second at bat) and let it get a little deeper and got a good swing on it. I told myself not to pull off on the left-handed pitcher."
Reno took command early in the first. Giannotti scored on a pair of errors and former University of Nevada infielder Bub Madrid smacked a two-run double to left center to give the Sox a 3-2 lead.
Mike Done followed with an RBI-single and Done later scored on a third Flyers error to put Reno up 5-2.
"Today was one of those days we needed to get back on track," said Madrid, who went 2-for-5, with 3 RBI, and who was hitting .273 coming into the game. "It (the incident) fired up the team. We have too potent an offense to be scoring two, three runs a game. We woke up."
With a 9-2 lead, Reno coasted, chasing off Lincoln (who allowed nine runs, six hits and two walks) after 1 2/3 innings. Reliever Nick Casanova allowed only one run - a fourth-inning fielder's choice by Madrid, which scored Jensen to make it 10-5 - and two hits in 2 1/3 innings of action.
Mike McTamney and Ryan Olsen went a combined 5 innings, allowing no runs and only one hit.
The Flyers began crawling back into the game in the fourth, getting a run on a Levier sacrifice fly and two more on a single by Garry Templeton II, to cut the score to 9-5.
Nagasaka left with two out in the fifth, having given up five runs and six hits. His reliever, Jared Bonnell, gave up a three-run homer to Williams in the sixth to make it 10-8, but the Flyers could get no closer as Nate Sevier and Scott Schneider pitched two scoreless innings.
Schneider picked up his eighth save a night after giving up his first earned runs of the season against Fullerton in Friday's loss..
"I'd like to blame it (Friday's loss) on the (10-day, 11-game) road trip and fatigue, but that wasn't the case," Madrid said. "We've been there before. We needed to focus and get our attitude back that we had at the beginning of the year: that nobody can beat us. We can score 10 runs a game. Once we do that, we'll be a force to be reckoned with."
Varela also said it was just a matter of sticking with it.
"We swung the bats well. But you never know the way the wind blows out here," Varela said. "They came back, too. We never let down. Overall, we did a good job of battling. We didn't let (Friday) get to us.
"You have to put hitting and pitching together. In the beginning of the year, both sides were on. On days you don't hit, you need your pitching to pull you through. Today was one of those days where it flip-flopped and we picked up our pitchers."
Reno manager Les Lancaster said he didn't need to have a heart-to-heart talk with his team. It was more fundamental than that.
"The big thing was that the guys came out with more aggressive play," Lancaster said. "They got ahead in the count. Once they got ahead, they made (Fullerton) pay for it.
"Today everyone was on offensively, one through nine. Out pitching struggled a little bit, but we got the pitches when we needed them. It was just a matter of giving the pitchers something to work with. I'm happy with today's outcome."
The Silver Sox and the Flyers will meet at 5:05 p.m. today, for the third game of their four-game series. Reno will start left-hander Chris Marini (3-2, 5.35 earned run average) and Fullerton will start left-hander Craig Frydendall (1-3, 1.96 ERA).
Gates open at 4:05 p.m.