A mere three hits will have to suffice for Nate Tenbrink.
A day after registering his team-high fourth four-hit game this season, Tenbrink smacked a trio of singles, leading Tacoma over Colorado Springs, 5-2 – its third consecutive victory – before 6,697 Wednesday in a Pacific Coast League game at Cheney Stadium.
“I’ve just tried to put the work in and improve,” said Tenbrink, who hit .157 (13-for-83) in June. “Watching a lot of film, trying to figure things out. June was definitely a tough month for me. I’ve had slumps before, but never for an entire month. I’m seeing the ball better now. It’s nice to see the work pay off these last two games.”
Tacoma improved to a PCL-best 51-36.
Tenbrink went 3-for-4 and drove in a run, collecting a hit in his first three plate appearances before striking out in the eighth. His first single drove in Stefen Romero, pushing the first-inning lead to 2-0.
The left fielder has 18 multiple-hit games this season – tied for second on the club behind Romero, who finished with two hits and two RBI against the Sky Sox to give him 21 multiple-hit games this season.
Tenbrink is 7-for-9 the past two games, increasing his batting average to .251, after collecting six hits in 26 at-bats his previous eight games.
James Paxton (5-6) allowed two runs and five hits and struck out six in five innings.
Lucas Luetge was solid in relief with three scoreless innings and Logan Bawcom got his 14th save.
Paxton opened with a 1-2-3 first inning, but found himself in trouble in the second after Colorado Springs loaded the bases with no outs.
A force at home on a fielder’s choice followed by back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat.
Paxton picked up right where he left off in the third, fanning the first two batters, but command issues surfaced the next inning with Colorado Springs drawing consecutive walks to start the fourth before Tim Wheeler loaded the bases with a single.
Paxton got Drew Garcia to strike out, but a wild pitch scored Ryan Wheeler and the Sky Sox tied it at 2 on a fielder’s choice.
Romero broke open a 2-2 game in the fifth by driving in a pair of runs on a sharply hit single to left field.
Tacoma went without a home run for the sixth consecutive game – a season high.
The Rainiers, second in the PCL with 93 homers, have gone 179 at-bats without a home run, with the team’s last homer coming June 27 when Brad Miller belted a solo shot against Las Vegas.
Tacoma opens a seven-game trip at 6:05 p.m. Thursday with the first of a four-game set at division rival Salt Lake. Brian Sweeney (7-3, 3.93 ERA) is scheduled to startfor the Rainiers. Jarrett Grube (3-2, 3.40) will go for the Bees.