WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento River Cats starting pitcher Travis Banwart is becoming a Tacoma Rainiers killer.
For the second time in 11 days, the right-hander shut down Tacoma, limiting the Rainiers to five hits and one run while pitching into the eighth inning, earning the victory in Sacramento’s 6-1 win Saturday night.
Banwart (4-2) pitched six shutout innings against Tacoma at Cheney Stadium on June 4, getting the win that day as well.
Pretty impressive stuff, considering the fact that the Rainiers lead the Pacific Coast League in runs scored and homers.
“We didn’t get our offense going,” Tacoma manager John Stearns said. “Banwart was tough. He mixed it up and kept us off-balance, and the few innings we had something going we couldn’t get the big hit we needed.”
Hector Noesi (1-1) started for Tacoma, and allowed a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning.
Robert Andino homered in the top of the fifth to make it 2-1. It was the first home run of the season for the Tacoma shortstop.
It was 5-1 after seven innings but the Rainiers made it interesting in the eighth.
Dustin Ackley led off with a single, his second hit of the game. Ackley’s hitting streak reached 16 games.
With one out, Carlos Peguero walked and Justin Smoak singled to right, loading the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate.
Smoak’s single knocked out Banwart, and the Rainiers were hoping for better results against the Sacramento bullpen.
But reliever Brian Gordon got Stefen Romero to pop up to the catcher and he struck out Nate Tenbrink to end the threat.
The Rainiers could be without the services of outfielder Eric Thames for a few days. Thames collided with Tenbrink chasing a flare down the left-field line, and left the game with an injury to his left hand.
“He came up with a big gash on the back of his hand and he’s at the hospital getting stitches,” Stearns said.
Andrew Carraway will miss a few turns in the starting rotation while dealing with back trouble. Pitching coach Dwight Bernard said Carraway will not start during the current road trip, which has six games remaining. Carraway has not been placed on the disabled list. The right-hander is 6-2 with a 3.42 ERA. … Romero started at second base because an eighth inning grounder Friday tore off one of Brad Miller’s fingernails; Miller is day-to-day.
Day baseball is on the schedule when the two teams meet at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. Tacoma will start right-hander Brian Sweeney (7-1, 3.96 ERA) against Sacramento’s Sonny Gray (6-4, 2.48). The broadcast airs on 850-AM radio.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.