It’s beginning to look like you can pencil Andrew Carraway in for a quality start every time he steps onto the mound.
The Tacoma left-hander came up with another strong outing, matching a season-high in strikeouts, Jesus Sucre added a two-run double and the Rainiers notched their fifth consecutive victory with a 5-4 win in Pacific Coast League action over visiting Nashville at Cheney Stadium on Wednesday.
“This is a good ball club. We’re solid,” Tacoma manager John Stearns said. “If you can win six out of every 10 games, you’re doing pretty well in this sport. It’s always fun to win five straight. I’ll take that any time.”
With the victory, Tacoma improved to a PCL-best 29-18, piecing together its second winning streak this season of five or more victories.
The Rainiers also won 10 consecutive games, its longest winning streak in five seasons, between April 25 and May 3.
Nashville, which has lost 20 out of its last 25 games, finds itself at the other end of the standings, falling to a PCL-worst 12-32 on the season.
Carraway has turned in quality starts – completing at least six innings with fewer than three earned runs – in six of his past seven outings. He went 6 2/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits and matching a season-high with six strikeouts to improve to 5-1 on the season.
“Carraway has been fantastic for us,” Stearns said. “He’s a very deceptive pitcher, all arms and legs and all over the place. He’s very hard to pick up. Pitching is why we’ve been so successful this season and Andrew’s a big part of that. He’s been tremendous.”
Making his team-leading 10th start, Carraway fanned the first two batters he faced and five out of the first eight. He had to wait until the fifth to get his sixth strikeout, marking the fifth time this season he has registered a half-dozen Ks in a game.
Nashville starter Tyler Thornburg went pitch-for-pitch early with Carraway and certainly didn’t come across like a pitcher who was 0-5 in his first nine starts this season with an ERA more than 6 – at least not through the first four innings.
Thornburg was touched for a leadoff single by Nick Franklin before retiring the next eight.
Through four scoreless innings, Franklin was the only one to figure Thornburg out, picking up a pair of singles as the rest of the order went a combined 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts, including a rare four-strikeout performance in the fourth.
An RBI single from Franklin Gutierrez in the fifth and Sucre’s two-run double in the fifth put an end to Thornburg’s night.
Tacoma would tack on four runs in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead.
The Rainiers handed the ball to Logan Bawcom with one out in the seventh. Blake Lalli’s double off the righty pulled the Sounds within two runs. Lalli later scored on Stephen Parker’s single to make it a one-run contest.
Bobby LaFromboise pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for the Rainiers, striking out three, to pick up his second save.
Tacoma closes out its four-game series with Nashville on Thursday. First pitch is at 7 p.m. Jeremy Bonderman (2-3, 3.79 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Rainiers. Zach Zroenke (1-6, 5.75) takes the mound for the Sounds.