COLORADO SPRINGS, Col. – The Tacoma Rainiers started driving in runners with clutch hits late in Monday’s game. It was just a smidge too late.
Tacoma’s late rally fell short, and the Rainiers lost to Colorado Springs, 5-4.
One day after being held to one run and leaving 13 runners on base, it looked like the Rainiers were going to suffer a similar fate. They trailed after seven innings, 5-1.
Three singles and an error led to two runs scoring in the top of the eighth, making it 5-3.
Nick Franklin singled home another run with two outs in the ninth, and the Rainiers had the go-ahead run at the plate in the form of team home run leader Luis Jimenez. Sky Sox reliever Mike Ekstrom got Jimenez to ground out to first base, ending the game.
Tacoma had 12 hits and was 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position – but all 12 hits were singles.
“The big difference today was that we had 12 singles, and they had four or five doubles and a home run,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. “I like the way we came back in the eighth and ninth – hopefully it will continue into tomorrow.”
Colorado Springs (39-38) rallied to score four runs in the fourth inning against Tacoma starter Jarrett Grube. Chad Tracy, who homered in the third inning, pulled a two-run double down the left-field line in the fourth. Tracy was 3-for-4 with three RBI.
The Sky Sox scored five runs in five innings against Grube (0-5), but the Rainiers’ bullpen was terrific.
Steve Delabar – who had been wild since being sent to Tacoma by the Mariners, walking nine batters in eight innings – did not walk anybody while delivering two much-needed scoreless innings.
“He’s better than what he’s shown since coming down here, in terms of throwing strikes, and today was what we expect to see,” Brown said.
Brian Moran pitched a perfect bottom of the eighth, putting Tacoma in position to rally in the ninth – which the Rainiers did, but not quite enough to tie the game.
Carlos Triunfel was in the starting lineup at second base, but he was a late scratch. Brown said Triunfel wasn’t feeling well. … Scott Savastano, inserted into the lineup when Triunfel was scratched, went 3-for-3 with a walk. … Tacoma fell to 8-22 against Northern Division foes.
The series concludes with a game at 6:05 (PDT) today. Tacoma will start right-hander Blake Beavan (1-0, 3.00 ERA) against Rob Scahill (5-8, 5.96) of the Sky Sox.Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster of the Tacoma Rainiers