Rainiers’ rally comes up short
MIKE CURTO; Contributing writer
Fresno, Calif – The Tacoma Rainiers made a furious comeback attempt in the ninth inning, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their early mistakes in a series-opening 7-6 loss to Fresno on Monday night.
Dustin Ackley and Carlos Peguero made costly errors as Fresno built a 6-1 lead after three innings. Half of the Fresno runs were unearned to Tacoma starter Fabio Castro because of miscues.
Offensively, Tacoma wasn’t much better. The Rainiers bounced into double plays with runners in scoring position four times in eight innings.
Tacoma trailed 7-2 going to the ninth – but when the game ended, Tacoma had the tying and go-ahead runs on base.
“I’m happy with guys coming back and giving them a run at it,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. “We had patient at-bats and they allowed us to get back into it with the walks.”
Peguero, who hit his first Triple-A homer in the second inning, lead off the ninth with a walk against Fresno reliever Henry Sosa.
Mike Wilson and Josh Bard singled to load the bases, and Leury Bonilla drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 7-3. Bonilla’s walk capped a 3-for-3, two-RBI night.
Alex Hinshaw replaced Sosa to face Ackley, who represented the tying run. Hinshaw’s first pitch went to the backstop to bring in a run, and Ackley then walked to re-load the bases.
After Sean Kazmar struck out, Matt Tuiasosopo grounded a single to left field, driving in two runs and making it 7-6 – and there was only one out for the Rainiers.
Hinshaw got Mike Carp to pop up on the first pitch, and then Casey Daigle was summoned from the bullpen. Daigle struck out Alex Liddi, ending the game.
The comeback came up one run short, but it could have a lasting effect on the series.
“I’m especially happy that Fresno had to run three relievers out there in the ninth,” Brown said.
The Rainiers were unable to control Fresno’s prolific running game.
Fresno stole five bases – three by second baseman Emmanuel Burris, who has 10 steals in five games this season. The Grizzlies are 24-for-25 in stolen bases.
Tacoma center fielder Greg Halman was placed on the seven-day disabled list after being hit in the left wrist by a pitch during Sunday’s game at Sacramento. X-rays revealed a fracture, and Halman will be checked further by the Seattle team doctors before there is any timetable for his return.
OPENER SOLD OUT
The Rainiers announced that the home opener Friday night at renovated Cheney Stadium is sold out. The team said that both reserved and general admission tickets are still available for games Saturday and Sunday.
Today’s game in Fresno will start at 12:05 p.m. Tacoma left-hander Luke French (0-1, 13.50 ERA) is looking to bounce back from a rough game in his first start. Fresno will start right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (1-0, 1.59). The game will air on 850- AM.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers.