The Tacoma Rainiers struggled to find their seventh win in July, as they fell 4-1 to the Reno Aces Friday night.
Chance Ruffin took the mound for the Rainiers, after being transferred from Double-A Jackson to Tacoma on July 11. In his first Triple-A start of the season, Ruffin had trouble keeping the Aces’ bats quiet.
In the first inning, the Aces scored two runs against the right-hander and followed up their offensive prowess with two more runs in the second inning. Center fielder Tony Campana was the main catalyst for Reno’s offense, as he tallied two runs and drove in another.
Ruffin finished his outing with five hits, four earned runs, three walks and three strikeouts. He only lasted 4 innings.
“He [Ruffin] did all right. He battled out there. He could’ve thrown more strikes but overall, I thought he competed pretty well,” Rainiers manager John Stearns said.
When a Tacoma starting pitcher lasts six innings or longer, their record is 28-10. However, when a starting pitcher tosses less than six innings, the team is 27-31.
In relief of Ruffin, Brian Moran was put into the game and kept the hits at a minimum, giving up two hits in his 22/3 innings of work. He also struck out three.
“Our bullpen did a nice job. They are pitching very well,” Stearns said.
Moran got himself out of a jam in the top of the sixth inning, striking out Mike Jacobs, who has 64 RBI this season for the Aces, with the bases loaded and two outs.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Rainiers managed to put their only run of the game on the board. With one out, Nate Tenbrink drove a double to right field, scoring Carlos Triunfel on the play.
Later in the inning, Carlos Peguero, who had a modest hitting streak of nine games, struck out to end the inning.
“We didn’t swing the bats very well. You got to score some runs to win and we’re kind of in an offensive downstreak right now, but we’re going to get them. That’s how baseball is; if you win six out of ten, you’re usually in the playoffs,” Stearns said.
One offensive weapon for the Rainiers was Scott Savastano, who had two singles for the game.
Abraham Almonte is fifth in the Pacific Coast League with 11 stolen bases since his debut on May 13.
The Rainiers send left-hander James Paxton (6-6, 4.63 ERA) to the mound against Aces right-hander Mike Bolsinger (3-3, 4.54) Saturday, 7:05 p.m., at Cheney Stadium. The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.