ROUND ROCK, Texas – It wasn’t pretty, but the Rainiers will take it.
Tacoma outlasted the Round Rock Express in a sloppy 12-inning affair on Tuesday night, 4-3.
The details were representative of the game as a whole: Tacoma tied the game in the ninth on two walks, a wild pitch, and an error – and then won in the 12th without hitting a ball out of the infield.
It was a pleasant final result for the Rainiers, who missed chances to break the game open in the second, third and fourth innings.
The Rainiers put runners at first and third with no outs in the second and did not score. After Abraham Almonte hit a leadoff homer in the third, Tacoma loaded the bases with no outs and did not score. The fourth inning saw the Rainiers load the bases with one out – and they did not score.
“We had three innings early where we could have broken the game open, and we didn’t score,” said Tacoma manager John Stearns. “We had to live with that until the top of the ninth, wondering if we were going to lose another game.”
It appeared the missed opportunities were going to cost Tacoma the game, because the Rainiers trailed 3-2 from the end of the third inning until the ninth.
With two outs in the ninth, the Rainiers got a gift. Round Rock closer Cory Burns walked Rich Poythress and Nate Tenbrink, then wild pitched them to second and third.
Carlos Triunfel hit an apparent game-ending groundout to third base, but it bounced off Alex Buchholz’s glove for a game-tying error.
After two scoreless extra innings, Tacoma won the game in the 12th.
Facing submarine-style reliever Ben Rowen – and his 0.00 ERA in 21 innings – Triunfel led off with a bunt single. Two ground outs later, he was at third.
Taking a full swing, Almonte pulled a slow chopper past the pitcher and beat it out for an infield single, scoring Triunfel for the go-ahead run.
“Almonte was the catalyst,” said Stearns. “He got on base five times and drove in the winning run in the 12th.”
Rainiers starter Andrew Carraway allowed three runs in five innings, issuing a career-high seven walks.
Tacoma’s bullpen of Jonathan Arias, Logan Bawcom, Josh Kinney, and Bobby LaFromboise combined to pitch seven shutout innings. LaFromboise (6-0) worked the final two innings, earning the win.
The Round Rock express, of the Texas organization, released 12-time Major League All-Star Manny Ramirez prior to the game. The 41-year-old Ramirez went 2-for-4 with two singles in the series opener Monday. … Tacoma pitcher Taijuan Walker turned 21 Tuesday.
The third game of the series starts at 5:05 p.m. Wednesday. Tacoma sends Tom Wilhelmsen (0-1, 9.00 ERA) against Round Rock’s Michael Kirkman (0-2, 14.04).Mike Curto is the Tacoma Rainiers’ radio broadcaster.