OKLAHOMA CITY — The Tacoma Rainiers are happy to be leaving Oklahoma City, and they won’t be carrying any wins with them.
The RedHawks held on for a 1-0 shutout victory Friday evening at Bricktown Ballpark, completing a four-game series sweep of the Rainiers. It’s the first time Oklahoma City has swept the Rainiers since 2005.
The RedHawks did it with pitching, holding Tacoma to one run or less in three of the four games.
“We didn’t swing the bat this whole series,” Tacoma manager John Stearns said. “I don’t expect that to keep happening — we have too good of a club.”
The lack of offense caused two plays to loom large on Friday.
Tacoma starter Jimmy Gillheeney had an outstanding start but allowed a run because of a problem with the bullpen gate.
With two outs in the fourth inning, Brett Wallace hit a fly ball to the wall in right field — right in front of the gate to the Tacoma bullpen.
Right fielder Eric Thames jumped at the fence, caught the ball, then fell through the gate when it opened under his weight. The ball popped out of Thames’ glove, and Wallace had a triple.
“The gate flew open, and it cost him the catch,” Stearns said.
Wallace scored on a double by the next hitter, Brandon Laird. That was all Gillheeney allowed over 6ª innings, but he suffered his first Triple-A loss.
“Gillheeney — what a great job he did,” Stearns said. “He had fastball command, he changed speeds, and he located.”
Tacoma missed a chance to tie the game in the eighth, when Nick Franklin executed a perfect hit-and-run single to put pinch runner Corey Patterson at third base with one out.
With Carlos Triunfel at the plate, RedHawks reliever Jason Stoeffel sent a pitch close to Triunfel’s head and through to the backstop. Patterson did not try to score, but Franklin moved to second on the wild pitch.
“The runner didn’t run,” Stearns said. “I was saying, ‘Go, go, go,’ and he was walking back to third. … That was the biggest play of the game.”
Stoeffel struck out Triunfel on a full-count pitch, then he got Stefen Romero to ground out, ending the threat.
The trip moves to New Orleans today, with first pitch set for 4 p.m. (PDT). Tacoma starts Andrew Carraway (4-1, 3.40 ERA); the Zephyrs counter with right-hander Doug Mathis (1-2, 2.22). The broadcast airs on 850-AM.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers.