Usually, when pitcher Steve Garrison is in a hurry, it is a good sign for the Tacoma Rainiers.
He has a tidy throwing motion which enables him to pitch fast – and fire away at opposing hitters.
Issues arise when those pitches are hammered in the same rapid-fire fashion.
That is how New Orleans pulled away – three fifth-inning home runs – in an 9-4 Pacific Coast League victory over the Rainiers at Cheney Stadium on Monday night.
Tacoma’s three-game winning streak came to an end, but the loss did not damper the team’s hot August – 4-2 to begin the month.
Garrison was looking to extend a pretty good run of pitching. He earned his first career win for the Rainiers on July 26 at Oklahoma City.
He was in and out of trouble early, including leaving the bases loaded in the second inning when shortstop Gil Velazquez lined out to Mike Wilson in center field for the final out.
And Garrison was given a 4-3 lead when third baseman Vinnie Catricala homered with one out in the fourth.
But the fifth inning turned ugly for the left-hander from New Jersey. Zephyrs outfielder Chris Coghlan, leading off, teed off on a breaking ball for a solo shot.
Two hitters later, designated hitter Luke Montz – the team leader in home runs – drilled his 23rd of the season off the roof of the Rainiers’ ticket booth over the left field wall.
Two batters later, left-fielder Chris Aguila did Montz one better – he cleared the ticket booth entirely to give the Zephyrs a 7-4 lead. Garrison was pulled after throwing nine pitches in the inning.
“He was really good the last time out,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. “Tonight, I thought he was up in the (strike) zone, and they made him pay for it.”
Montz hit his second home run of the game in the ninth.
Today marks the second turn in the Rainiers’ rotation that left-hander Danny Hultzen will be skipped.
Brown said no timetable for Hultzen’s return has been set, but that could change this week.
“That is going to be a decision that quite a few people are going to be involved on – not us sitting here,” Brown said. “But we also have an off day Thursday that we can use to our benefit as well. He feels good right now.”
Outfielder Darren Ford was initially set to lead off Monday, before Brown sent him home sick. Second baseman Luis Rodriguez led off. … First baseman Justin Smoak went 0-for-3 with a walk and saw his seven-game hitting streak snapped. … Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (right elbow), optioned to Tacoma by the Mariners on Sunday after finishing his minor-league rehabilitation assignment, should be with the team today.
Another highly touted pitching prospect, right-hander Jacob Turner (1-0, 4.09 ERA) faces the Rainiers today. In his third start since his trade from Detroit, he will face right-hander Andrew Carraway (3-6, 4.79) making his team-high 15th start for Tacoma. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.Todd.firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8442 @ManyHatsMilles