At long last, victory for Rainiers
SALT LAKE CITY – Ten days. That’s how long it had been since the Tacoma Rainiers had won a baseball game.
The wait is over. Tacoma’s veterans led the way to a 7-3 win over Salt Lake on Tuesday night, ending the team’s eight-game losing streak.
It was just the second Tacoma win in the past 14 games.
“It’s something that we really needed,” said catcher Guillermo Quiroz, who had three hits and the game’s biggest defensive play. “It hasn’t happened in a while.”
Quiroz singled to start a four-run rally in the third inning, as Tacoma took an early lead. Luis Rodriguez had a two-out double to drive in the first run; Franklin Gutierrez hit a fly ball that was dropped by center fielder Kole Calhoun to score a second run; and Luis Jimenez lined a two-run homer to right to make it 4-0.
The home run was the 10th of the year for Jimenez, who had not homered since May 20 – 20 games ago.
Veteran starter Brian Sweeney (2-1) made the four runs hold up, although a two-out, two-run single by Efren Navarros in the sixth inning trimmed the lead to 4-3.
Steve Delabar was summoned to relieve in the seventh, protecting the one-run lead. A leadoff walk followed by a bunt single put the Rainiers in a precarious position, but a play called from the bench saved the day.
Knowing that Alberto Rosario would be asked to sacrifice the tying- and go-ahead runners into scoring position, manager Daren Brown called for an after-the-pitch pickoff play. Delabar threw a high fastball, it was ball one, and Quiroz fired to second base, picking off Salt Lake’s Luis Jimenez for a crucial out.
The pickoff seemed to settle Delabar, who retired the next five batters.
Tacoma scored three insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning, creating some needed breathing room. Quiroz singled in the first run, Rodriguez had another run-scoring hit, and Gutierrez contributed a sacrifice fly.
After the game, music was blaring and the team was loose in the clubhouse.
“It’s good to see some things come together,” said Brown. “I don’t think it’s been a lack of effort in the last week. Some things just hadn’t gone in our favor.”
Tacoma added pitcher Jandy Sena from Double-A Jackson before the game. Sena was 1-1 with a 3.64 ERA in 292/3 innings for Jackson. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound right-hander was the Mariners’ 23rd-round draft pick in 2010. … Erasmo Ramirez was scratched from his start today for unspecified reasons, presumably involving the big league club.
The three-game series in Salt Lake City ends with a 12:05 p.m. (PDT) game today. Tacoma’s starter is to be determined; Salt Lake will start Francisco Rodriguez (0-2, 5.28 ERA).
Mike Curto is the Rainiers’ radio announcer.