Cheney Stadium has been kind to Tacoma starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez.
Entering Saturday night’s contest against Oklahoma City, the right-hander had allowed four earned runs in nearly 30 innings at home. On the road, Ramirez has given up 16 earned runs in 142/3 innings.
“Cheney is a good park to pitch in,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown said.
Ramirez rebounded nicely from a disastrous outing five days earlier. The 22-year-old right-hander scattered five hits, an unearned run, no walks and two strikeouts in six innings, leading Tacoma to a 5-1 win over the RedHawks.
Against Oklahoma City, Ramirez (4-2) exhibited none of the command issues that led him to give up seven earned runs on nine hits and a walk on Monday at Tucson.
“He was commanding his pitches on both sides of the plate,” Brown said.
Ramirez, making his third rehabilitation start since hurting his elbow, threw 77 pitches. Brown said the goal was 75-80.
Brian Sweeney threw three scoreless innings in relief, earning his first save of the season. Sweeney did not allow a hit or walk and struck out three.
After enduring a miserable 13-game stretch that saw the Rainiers go 2-11, Tacoma has won seven of its past 10 games.
“We try to win them all,” Brown said. “We’ve got some guys hitting and our pitching is as good as it’s been all year.”
The Rainiers quickly jumped on Oklahoma City. Carlos Peguero, Alex Liddi and Luis Rodriguez led off the second inning with consecutive singles and all three scored later in the inning. Peguero scored on a wild pitch, Carlos Triunfel drove in Liddi with an RBI single and Rodriguez scored on a sacrifice fly that gave Tacoma 3-0 lead.
Tacoma added a run in the third when Liddi tripled to center field, driving in Justin Smoak. Liddi finished 2-for-4 with a run and RBI and Triunfel was 2-for-3 with a walk, run and RBI. Smoak went 1-for-3 with a walk and is hitting .256 since being demoted by Seattle on July 24.
Center fielder Darren Ford showed off his speed and glove in the fifth inning. Ford made a fantastic diving catch of J.B. Shuck’s fly ball that possibly saved a run.
Tacoma chased Oklahoma City starter Brett Oberholtzer (4-4) in the fifth inning. Oberholtzer lasted 42/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on eight hits, a walk and three strikeouts.
The RedHawks’ only run came in the third inning. Chris Wallace scored from third base when Smoak misplayed a groundball hit by Shuck.
Right-hander D.J. Mitchell (0-1, 0.75 ERA) will start for Tacoma as the Rainiers begin a four-game series at 5:05 tonight against New Orleans. Right-hander Tom Koehler (11-8, 3.50) will start for the Zephyrs.email@example.com 253-597-8271 blog.thenewstribune.com/preps @DougPaceyTNT