Rainiers suffer 8th loss in row
SALT LAKE CITY – The Tacoma Rainiers continue to be mired in a losing streak, and every day the problem is something new.
On Monday night, the defense struggled to make routine plays, committing four errors in a 10-4 Pacific Coast League loss to the Salt Lake Bees.
It was the eighth consecutive loss for the Rainiers, and the 12th defeat in the team’s past 13 games.
The five most recent losses have come to the Bees, who swept Tacoma in a four-game series at Cheney Stadium that ended Sunday and won the opener of a three-game set Monday.
In this one, Tacoma starter Jarrett Grube pitched well but was betrayed by errors.
“I thought Grube did a nice job getting through the fifth inning, but defensively we made some plays that hurt him,” said Tacoma manager Daren Brown.
After allowing an earned run on an RBI double by Paul McAnulty in the first inning, Grube tossed a perfect second inning and appeared to be getting out of the third unscathed – until an unexpected miscue occurred.
With a runner at third and two outs, Grube got McAnulty to hit a routine-as-can-be grounder to second baseman Luis Rodriguez. Rodriguez made an accurate throw to first baseman Luis Jimenez – but Jimenez juggled the ball, McAnulty was safe, and the run scored to make it 2-0.
An error by third baseman Vinnie Catricala extended the fourth inning so that Andrew Romine could single home two runs with two outs, making it 4-0.
Catricala redeemed himself somewhat with a home run to center in the fifth inning, his fourth of the year. It snapped Catricala’s 0-for-23 slump.
That homer was the only run permitted by Salt Lake starter Eric Hurley, who lasted seven innings to earn the win.
Salt Lake (35-30) broke the game open with a four-run sixth inning against Tacoma reliever Forrest Snow. Salt Lake had five hits during the inning, and four went for extra bases – including consecutive triples by Romine and McAnulty.
Tacoma (24-40) faced a 10-1 deficit before scoring three times in the top of the ninth inning. The Rainiers had just one hit in the rally – but Brown was not discouraged by the fact that walks helped Tacoma score.
“I’m encouraged by anything that gets a couple of runs across the plate,” Brown said. “We haven’t been doing a lot of that.”
The four-error outburst was surprising in one regard: In the first seven games of the losing streak, Tacoma made a total of two errors and played flawless defense in five of the games.
Starting pitcher Anthony Vasquez was placed on the disabled list with a sore left arm. No immediate roster move was made to fill his spot. … Searching for positives, Brown pointed out a two-hit game for Carlos Peguero which included a double off a left-hander. … Carlos Triunfel is in a 1-for-46 slump.
Game two is tonight at 6:05 (PDT). Tacoma starts Brian Sweeney (1-1, 3.82 ERA) against Salt Lake’s Greg Smith (2-3, 3.19).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers.