LAS VEGAS — Like so many other visitors to Las Vegas, the Tacoma Rainiers suffered a bad beat Tuesday night at Cashman Field.
After rallying for three runs with two outs in the ninth inning to take a two-run lead, Tacoma was on the other end of a two-out rally as it allowed four runs to the 51s, capped by Zach Lutz’s three-run walk-off homer, in a stunning 8-6 loss.
Logan Bawcom, the Rainiers’ previously perfect closer, blew his first save in 12 chances this season after striking out the first two batters in the ninth.
He then walked Andrew Brown and Ike Davis before surrendering an RBI single to Wilmer Flores to make it 6-5. Lutz followed with a shot to left-center field in his first game off the disabled list.
Pacific Coast League-leading Tacoma (39-27) has lost only three times in 10 meetings with Las Vegas (34-29) this season.
The 51s led, 4-3, after four innings, and that’s the way things stood until the ninth, when Brad Miller drilled a three-run single to give the Rainiers a 6-4 lead and extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
Jason Jaramillo walked and Robert Andino hit a two-out single off Robert Carson before Abraham Almonte reached on a throwing error by shortstop Brandon Hicks. That loaded the bases for Miller, who lined a two-strike pitch into the right-center gap.
“Our bullpen did a great job holding them for four innings with a 4-3 (deficit) to take us into the ninth inning, and Brad Miller had a tremendous two-out (single) to put us ahead,” Tacoma manager John Stearns said.
“Bawcom has pitched great all year for us. He struck out the first two, and then he came in and started nibbling for some reason. He walked a couple guys and gave up the three-run homer. Hopefully Bawcom can learn from that situation and move forward from here.”
Eric Thames hit a solo homer to lead off the third inning for Tacoma, which added two runs in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.
Rich Poythress struck out swinging to start the fourth for the Rainiers, but he reached base on a wild pitch by Collin McHugh. Tacoma loaded the bases on walks to Nate Tenbrink and Andino, and Poythress and Tenbrink scored on another wild pitch by McHugh.
Francisco Pena homered and had two RBI for the 51s, who loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth on consecutive singles by Flores, Lutz and Jamie Hoffmann. Pena followed with a sacrifice fly and Hicks hit an RBI groundout for a 4-3 edge.
Dustin Ackley went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
Rainiers left-hander James Paxton (2-5, 5.73 ERA) will oppose 51s right-hander D.J. Mitchell (2-2, 7.36) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. The game can be heard on 850-AM.