Papillion, Neb. – In their first game at Omaha’s new Werner Park, the Tacoma Rainiers ended some long streaks.
The Rainiers beat the Storm Chasers, 3-2, ending Omaha’s 14-game home winning streak – and also a streak of 10 straight Tacoma losses to Omaha, dating to the 2009 season.
With the wind gusting out to left field at 29 mph, pitching was the key for Tacoma – although wind was a factor in all three Rainiers runs.
Tacoma took a 2-1 lead in the second inning when Guillermo Quiroz’s slicing drive down the right-field line stayed fair for a two-run single.
“I didn’t think it was going to be fair at all,” Quiroz said. “I guess that the wind pushed it back in. It landed next to the foul pole.”
With the score tied at 2 in the top of the seventh, Quiroz lifted a high fly ball to deep left field and let the wind do the rest.
“I hit it pretty good, but I don’t think on a normal day it would have gone out,” he said. His seventh homer of the year put Tacoma up, 3-2.
Rainiers pitchers had to deal with Will Myers, the Kansas City Royals’ top hitting prospect who was making his Triple-A debut for Omaha. Myers arrived in town with huge numbers: 13 home runs and a Texas League-leading .343 batting average.
Myers tied the game at 2 with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. The two-out liner to center completed a long plate appearance and knocked out Tacoma starter Erasmo Ramirez.
Myers was up again in the ninth with the tying runner on first base, two outs and the wind still howling out to left field.
Stephen Pryor, pitching in his first save situation in Triple-A, got Myers to fly out to shallow left-center, ending the game.
“(Myers) looks like he’s a good player,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. “We know what Pryor ’s about – he’s got a good arm. It was fun, we came out on the winning side.”
The 3-2 final was unexpected, given the conditions.
“When we were taking batting practice, you certainly wouldn’t think it would be a 3-2 game,” Brown said. “We didn’t have a whole lot of baseballs left in the bucket at the end.”
Tacoma (16-24) has won five of its past six games, and on Thursday, the bullpen deserved much of the credit.
Sean Henn (3-0) worked two scoreless innings to earn the win. Josh Kinney got Myers to fly out to end the seventh, Oliver Perez pitched a scoreless eighth, and Pryor nailed it down in the ninth.
Ramirez allowed two runs in 42/3 innings, leaving the game after 81 pitches. He was visibly tiring in the fifth, when he walked a batter – rare for him – and uncorked two wild pitches.
Rainiers shortstop Carlos Triunfel was back in the lineup after being hit on the left wrist and leaving Tuesday’s game. … Luis Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to 13 games when his infield pop-up fell to the ground untouched in the eighth inning. … Luis Jimenez went 0-for-3, ending his hitting streak at 14 games. … The last time Tacoma beat Omaha, on August 19, 2009, current Toronto Blue Jay Brandon Morrow was the winning pitcher.
Today’s 5:05 p.m. (PDT) game features a battle of recently called-up pitching prospects. Tacoma starts Andrew Carraway (1-0, 0.00) against Omaha’s Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 0.00). Carraway is making his second Triple-A start, while Odorizzi will be making his first. The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.