Run support is something D.J. Mitchell is not accustomed to this season.
During the right-hander’s first five starts, his Tacoma Rainiers teammates combined to score just 16 runs.
That changed dramatically Tuesday as the Rainiers got nearly half that total in one inning – providing Mitchell with more than enough help.
Tacoma scored seven runs in the second inning, taking advantage of two errors and a three-run Franklin Gutierrez homer, to hammer visiting Reno, 14-5, in a Pacific Coast League game at Cheney Stadium.
Gutierrez finished with five RBI, smacking a pair of home runs – his first since joining Tacoma on an injury rehabilitation assignment.
“I wasn’t really thinking home run with either of them,” Gutierrez said. “I was just trying to make contact, trying to get my timing back.”
It’s the seventh time this season Tacoma has had a player hit two home runs in a game, the first since Luis Jimenez on Aug. 13 against Memphis.
Tacoma also got home runs from Guillermo Quiroz and Jimenez in posting its highest run total since a 16-9 win against Colorado Springs on July 14 – a stretch of 38 games.
“We swung the bats well today,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. “Any time you get a couple guys with two or three hits you’re doing something right. It was a solid team effort tonight.”
Mitchell (1-2) allowed three runs and five hits, while striking out three and walking two in six innings. He was acquired by Seattle as part of the Ichiro Suzuki trade with the Yankees last month.
“(Mitchell’s) pitched well for us his last couple starts,” Brown said. “We just didn’t give him any runs. Tonight we did.”
The Rainiers (56-75) benefited from a pair of errors in the second inning by Aces second baseman Taylor Harbin, while Carlos Triunfel, Quiroz and Darren Ford each came up with an RBI in the seven-run inning.
Gutierrez’s first homer capped the scoring barrage, and gave Tacoma a 7-2 lead.
Reno, which leads the PCL Pacific North Division with a mark of 73-58, jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two innings, getting a solo home run from Josh Bell – the second consecutive game he’s gone deep – in the first, and an RBI double from Konrad Schmidt in the second.
Bell later added his second homer – his 11th of the season – in the sixth.
The victory gives Tacoma, which won the first two games of the four-game set, its first series victory over the Aces. The Rainiers are 19-45 all-time against Reno.
Tacoma begins its last home series of the season today, opening a five-game set against Las Vegas. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., with Tacoma’s Andrew Carraway (4-7, 4.70 ERA) going against Sean O’Sullivan (9-1, 2.18).