Taijuan Walker wasn’t at his best, unlike his first four starts with the Tacoma Rainiers.
With the Rainiers’ offense struggling, it was all the Omaha Storm Chasers needed.
Walker threw a second consecutive subpar start and the Rainiers didn’t provide him with support as they lost to Omaha, 4-1, on Tuesday in front of 3,562 at Cheney Stadium.
Teams have tagged Walker for nine runs his past two starts since his phenomenal debut with the Rainiers when he surrendered two runs his over his first four outings.
“I felt like my stuff was good, it was just a couple things I made some mistakes on,” said Walker, who allowed four runs in six innings.
All of the Rainiers’ offense came in the seventh when Jesus Montero led off with an opposite field home run.
Tacoma batters combined for 10 strikeouts.
“We’ve been going through these offensive droughts lately and tonight was one of those,” Rainiers manager John Stearns said. “You can’t expect to win a game scoring one run.”
Walker was tagged for a pair of runs in the second when Ben Broussard, who played 155 games for the Seattle Mariners in 2006-07, led off with a double and later scored from third on a fielder’s choice. Omaha brought in a second run on a two-out single from Gorkys Hernandez.
Omaha got to Walker again in the fourth, slapping three consecutive singles followed by a double from Christian Colon as the Kansas City Royals’ Triple-A affiliate pushed its lead to 4-0.
Walker made it through two more innings, totalling six for the second time in his six Triple-A starts since joining the Rainiers in late June from Double-A Jackson.
“It’s just baseball,” said Walker, 20. “Not every start is going to be good. You are going to run into bad ones sometimes, but you just got to learn from each start and bounce back.”
In the fourth, Max Ramirez flew out to center in a play that should have scored Irving Falu from third, but Rainiers center fielder Abraham Almonte gunned down Colon trying to reach third before Falu could score, limiting the damage to two runs instead of three.
It was the second of two throwing assists for Almonte. He also got Quintin Berry trying to take third base after a throw to prevent him stealing second rolled into center field.
“Almonte was unbelievable,” Stearns said. “We need to keep playing him and watching him because he is coming on like crazy.”
Chance Ruffin and Jonathan Arias didn’t allow a run in their three innings of combined relief.
The Salt Lake Bees beat Iowa, sending the Rainiers (60-51) two games back in the Pacific Coast League standings. It’s the first time Tacoma’s been two games out of first since April 23.
Franklin Gutierrez made a sliding catch in foul territory in the sixth inning. He got up quickly. It was his fourth start in right field since beginning his rehab assignment July 19. ... Tacoma has lost six consecutive games to Omaha at Cheney Stadium.
The Rainiers send Blake Beaven (4-3, 5.37 ERA) to face Omaha’s Chris Dwyer (7-8, 3.46). The game starts at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at Cheney Stadium and will broadcast on 850-AM.TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677 email@example.com @Cotterill44