FRESNO, Calif. – The Tacoma Rainiers game in Fresno on Friday night was close for seven innings. Really.
Then Tacoma scored 14 runs over the final two innings, claiming a ridiculous 19-3 victory in the opening game of the season-ending four-game series.
There were actually tense moments as late as the bottom of the seventh inning, when Rainiers reliever Brian Moran struck out Ryan Lollis with the bases loaded to end the inning, holding a 5-3 Tacoma lead.
“The final score was not an indication of what the game (was) like,” Tacoma manger Daren Brown said. “It was close for seven innings, and then we score five in the eighth. In the ninth ... those things happen.”
The Rainiers rallied for five run in the top of the eighth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate – and that was nothing.
Tacoma followed with a nine-run ninth inning, matching the team’s biggest frame of the season. In the ninth, Tacoma did not make an out until the 11th batter of the inning – Alex Liddi – bounced out to the second baseman.
Not that Liddi was upset about it. Liddi was 3-for-6 in the game, including his 10th home run of the season.
Rehabilitating Mariners first baseman Mike Carp also hit a homer while going 3-for-6. Carp’s home run was his 67th in a Tacoma uniform, breaking a tie with Tom Kelly (Tacoma Twins) for sole possession of second place on the franchise list.
Carlos Triunfel had an unusual performance: after seven innings, he was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. He finished the game with a 3-for-6 line, with three runs batted in and two runs scored.
Tacoma starter D.J. Mitchell lasted six innings, allowing two runs despite four walks and five hits. Mitchell has turned in a quality start (at least six innings, no more than three earned runs) in six of his past seven outings.
“Mitchell was not real sharp but he made big pitches to get out of innings,” said Brown.
Reliever Shawn Kelley was unavailable after being hit in the right elbow by a line drive on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Kelley has a bruised elbow. ... Infielder Luis Rodriguez was struck in the shin by a line drive during batting practice Thursday and he will not play until Monday at the earliest. ... The home run that Bobby LaFromboise allowed Thursday was the first he had allowed since July 28, 2011 – a span of 852/3 innings.
Tacoma starter Andrew Carraway (5-7, 4.75 ERA) makes his final appearance of the season today in Fresno, with first pitch set for 7:05 pm. Fresno is scheduled to start left-hander Jason Stevenson (5-7, 6.32).Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers.