On most game nights at Cheney Stadium, Luis Jimenez is accompanied into the batter’s box by one of the most infectious songs in baseball: “Te Perdone,” by Jimmy Zambrano and Jorge Celedn.
On Wednesday, the designated hitter also contributed a couple of key at-bats as the Tacoma Rainiers took a 3-1 win over the Las Vegas 51s before a crowd of 5,826.
In the fourth inning, Jimenez launched what seemed destined to be a towering home run to center field. However, the ball hit the right side of the 29-foot-tall batter’s-eye part of the wall 425 feet from home plate, and it bounded away from center fielder Luke Hughes. Jimenez kept motoring around second and beat the throw to third.
“I hit it really good,” Jimenez said. “But this is a tough part to hit here in this stadium. I started running hard. I tried to make a triple to try to score the run. It was a very good feeling.”
Jimenez is listed at 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 280 pounds. It was his second triple of the season, his most since 2006. He also has a couple of stolen bases and a handful of infield hits.
“I’m working hard to run every time as hard as I can,” Jimenez said. “That’s all I try to do.”
The effort paid off when the next batter, Carlos Peguero, brought him home with a single that put Tacoma ahead to stay.
Jimenez’s next at-bat came in the sixth. This time, he hit a bouncing ball just fair down the first-base line. Las Vegas’ Chris Woodward got to it but threw wild to pitcher Sean O’Sullivan, bringing Alex Liddi around from second base with the final run.
“I thought pitching obviously was good on both sides,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. “We took advantage of a couple of their mistakes and scored a couple of runs. Other than that, offensively only four hits, but obviously we made the most of them.”
Andrew Carraway got the win for the Rainiers (57-75). Sean O’Sullivan took the loss for Las Vegas (73-58).
Tacoma had edged ahead with a run in the second inning. Carlos Triunfel hit a two-out double. Then Vinnie Catricala knocked a grounder that third baseman Yan Gomes fielded cleanly, but Gomoes launched his throw into the stands, allowing Triunfel to score.
The 51s drew even in the fourth, when Kenen Bailli singled, Gomes walked and Ricardo Nanita singled.
After the game, Jimenez explained the selection of his theme song.
“I have that song for like seven years – everywhere I go,” he said. “I try to remember my place in Venezuela. It’s vallenato music from Colombia.”
The clubs continue their four-game series at 7:05 tonight. Probable starting pitchers are right-handers Hector Noesi (1-4, 5.87 ERA) for Tacoma and Shawn Hill (8-1, 4.83). For those who want to squeeze in a farewell visit to Cheney this season, tonight could be the last chance. The final three games of the home season – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – are sold email@example.com 253-597-8808 @donruiztnt