Goodbye, sizzling April.
Hello, good-start May.
Tacoma continued to build on its Pacific Coast League-best record – now 17-10 – by rallying for a 4-2 victory over Tucson in front of 2,909 spectators at Cheney Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Rainiers have won eight games in a row, and are so hot, they seemingly can strike in just about any way.
They haven’t trailed too often during this current run but had to Wednesday, mainly because their offense was shut down by Padres’ starter Tim Stauffer, who allowed one run in six innings.
Nearly equal to the task was Tacoma starter Andrew Carraway, who only gave up solo home runs to Brandon Allen and Dean Anna in the sixth inning, ending a Rainiers’ run of 26 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
“More than anything, our pitching has kept us in ballgames,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown.
Against Tucson reliever Tommy Layne – a pitcher who debuted with San Diego in the major leagues last season by holding teams scoreless in his first 19 appearances – the Rainiers regained the lead.
The decisive blow came on Denny Almonte’s two-run double just inside the left-field line, scoring Carlos Triunfel and Scott Savastano with one out in the seventh inning to give the Rainiers a 3-2 lead.
Bobby LaFromboise, who has never been scored on in 26 career innings at Cheney Stadium, locked up his first save of the season.
FRANKLIN LOCKED IN
Pick any way to start May – and super-prospect infielder Nick Franklin did in style by extending his hitting streak to 12 games with an eighth-inning single – and it would have been better than how April started.
He was stuck in the emergency room getting his inflamed tonsils checked out.
“They said they had to go in and drain them,” said Franklin, who missed the first six games of the season. “It was something that was frustrating.”
Healthy by the end of the month, he was the team’s hottest hitter – sporting a .410 average, .538 on-base percentage with three home runs, 14 RBI and 16 runs scored.
Those kind of numbers feed the when-will-he-be-called-up frenzy – something Franklin says he pays little attention to.
“Honestly, it is out of my control, so I am not worried about it at all,” Franklin said. “If I don’t, I don’t. It’s not like I am going to be upset. I almost got traded this offseason, so you never know. It’s kind of thrown out there like pixie dust.”
With Rainiers’ reliever Lucas Luetge being called up and Blake Beavan being optioned down, Beavan will immediately slide into the Tacoma starting rotation in place of Brian Sweeney on Saturday against Reno. ... After starting the first 26 games, outfielder Eric Thames was given the night off Wednesday.
Tacoma concludes this four-game series with Tucson tonight at 7 on 850-AM. Pasco’s Jeremy Bonderman (1-2, 4.61 ERA) starts for the Rainiers. Sean O’ Sullivan (1-1, 5.00) pitches for the Padres.