With the Tacoma Rainiers and Oklahoma City RedHawks holding the highest and second-highest team earned-run averages in the Pacific Coast League, offensive fireworks were to be expected.
The Rainiers scored runs in five of the nine innings, and took the lead for good in the fifth in what was a 7-4 victory over the RedHawks on Wednesday night, to open an eight-game homestand.
Tacoma’s victory was manager Daren Brown’s 400th win with the club. He’s 400-403 in six seasons managing the Rainiers, and a 911-830 career record in 14 seasons.
After a rough July, the Rainiers (47-65) started August on the right note. The team went 13-17 in July with a .248 batting average and had a 5.09 team ERA, which is lower than its league-high 5.36 ERA this season. The Rainiers were outhit by Oklahoma City (62-49) until a four-hit eighth inning produced another two runs that turned a 5-4 advantage into a three-run cushion.
“Some guys swung the bats well tonight, which is good to see,” Brown said. “We strung some things together in a few innings and gave ourselves some good opportunities.”
Two players had multihit games – Luis Jimenez (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Alex Liddi (2-for-4). In the fifth, the Rainiers grabbed a 5-2 lead, thanks in part to Jimenez’s RBI single that drove home Justin Smoak, who had legged out his second career triple earlier in the inning.
After allowing two runs in the second, Rainiers starter Steve Garrison settled down and retired the side in both the fourth and fifth innings. He left after 52/3 innings with a 5-2 lead but was responsible for Jimmy Paredes and Travis Buck, who scored following two consecutive RedHawks hits off reliever Danny Farquhar that made it 5-4.
Farquhar, along with Brian Moran, combined to pitch 3 shutout innings in relief.
Wednesday was Carlos Peguero’s first game back in Tacoma since being optioned from Seattle on Monday. He started in right field and went 1-for-4.
HULTZEN SKIPS START
Top prospect LHP Danny Hultzen was scheduled to start today, but will miss the start in favor of monitoring his innings. To date, Hultzen has pitched in 108 innings in 13 games in Double-A Jackson and seven games with Tacoma. He’s 1-2 with a 5.23 in seven Triple-A appearances.
“We knew we’d have a point near the end of the season where we’d pull back a bit,” Brown said. “He understands it. It’s about him and taking care of him.”
The Rainiers and RedHawks continue their four-game series today at 7:05 p.m. The Rainiers will start Andrew Carraway (3-5, 4.78 ERA), who will come off the seven-day DL (back) to make his 14th start. Oklahoma City will counter with RHP Jose Cisnero (1-0, 1.29).email@example.com