Las Vegas — All signs appeared positive for Tacoma on Saturday night when the Rainiers struck for two quick runs in the first inning.
Then came the bottom of the inning.
The 51s scored three runs in their half of the first, and they were only getting started. They jumped on Tacoma starter Mauricio Robles for eight runs in the first two-plus innings and then assaulted a platoon of three relievers on the way to a 15-5 victory at Cashman Field before an announced crowd of 5,639.
“Obviously, Robles had some problems with command of the baseball,” said Rainiers manager Daren Brown, whose team fell to 9-14. “When he got it in the strike zone, it was up, and they made him pay for it. You’re going to have those nights.”
Tacoma’s Trayvon Robinson led off the game with a double to right field, and Carlos Triunfel followed by reaching on an error. That set the table for Mike Carp, who lined a double to the right-center field gap to give the Rainiers a 2-0 lead.
But any notion of a Tacoma victory began fading minutes later when 51s catcher Travis d’Arnaud capped a three-run inning with a mammoth two-run homer to right field.
“We gave it right back,” Brown said. “It was good to see us come out and score those runs, but we didn’t do a whole lot after that.”
After putting three more runs on the board with the help of a home run from Yan Gomes in the second inning, Las Vegas put any doubt to rest in the third.
The 51s (8-15) sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning, chasing Robles and continuing the onslaught against Rainiers reliever Brian Sweeney. David Cooper capped the six-run third with a two-run blast to give Las Vegas a 12-2 lead.
The Rainiers’ bats fell silent for the next five innings.
“We were just trying to swing the bats and get back in it,” Brown said. “That’s all you can do.”
Las Vegas, which scored in five of the first six innings, built its lead to 15-2 before Tacoma finally managed three runs on four hits in the seventh.
Cooper went 4-for-5 with five RBI to lead the 51s, who finished with 17 hits. Teammate Danny Perales went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
Carreno earned the win for Las Vegas to improve to 2-2. Robles (0-3) suffered the loss for Tacoma, which will attempt to salvage a series split with a win in the final game of the series today.
Tacoma plays at Las Vegas at 12:05 p.m. today in a game that will be broadcast on 850-AM. Probable starters: Forrest Snow (0-2, 7.23 ERA) for Tacoma vs. Scott Richmond (1-2, 8.59) for Las Vegas.