Sweep extends Rainiers’ skid
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A doubleheader did nothing to help the Tacoma Rainiers.
Colorado Springs swept Tacoma on Sunday, winning the opener, 9-6, before taking the second game, 3-2, on a walk-off hit.
The Rainiers have lost five in a row, including the first four of a five-game series in Colorado Springs.
Tacoma (41-60) has lost eight of its past nine games, dropping to a season-worst 19 games under .500.
Tacoma trailed 4-1 after three innings in the first game, but a two-run single from Brandon Bantz tied the game, 4-4.
The Rainiers were on the verge of taking the lead in the fifth with Nick Franklin at third base and Luis Jimenez at first with nobody out.
Alex Liddi fouled out to the catcher, and Jimenez inexplicably attempted to tag up and take second base. He was thrown out for a double play, and the rally sputtered.
The Sky Sox responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning, including a two-run homer by Matt McBride.
“It’s 4-4 in the fifth, we make a baserunning miscue, and they end up tacking on three runs in the bottom of the inning,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown said.
In the second game, Tacoma scored twice in the top of the first inning, only to see the Sky Sox tie the game in the bottom of the first.
Nobody scored again until Brendan Harris won it with a bases-loaded single in the ninth off Bobby LaFromboise.
“We’re having a hard time shutting them down after we score,” Brown said. “At some point someone needs to come through with a big hit for us, and we didn’t get that tonight.”
McBride added a single in the second game, setting up Harris’ game-ending hit. McBride was 3-for-6 in the doubleheader, extending his hitting streak to 16 games while increasing his season average to .360.
“Start to finish, that was a battle,” McBride said. “Harris was able to work the count, got a good pitch to drive, and put a good swing on it.”
Rehabilitating Mariners first baseman Mike Carp did not play in the doubleheader. … With the two wins Sunday, Stu Cole became the second-winningest manager in Sky Sox history with 225. Brad Mills, now manager of the Houston Astros, is the franchise leader with 271; the Sky Sox have been in existence since 1988.
The series concludes today with an 11:35 a.m. (PDT) game. Tacoma starts Danny Hultzen (1-1, 3.52 ERA) against Alex White (1-4, 4.73) of the Sky Sox.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers