Carlos Peguero might have struck out three times Saturday night in the Tacoma Rainiers’ 5-3 win over Colorado Springs, but it was his fifth at-bat that mattered the most against the Sky Sox.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning at Cheney Stadium, Peguero cranked a walk-off grand slam over the right-field fence to the delight of the announced crowd of 5,989.
“I just tried to take it easy and not be too perfect in that last at-bat,” Peguero said.
The exciting finish came a night after Tacoma beat Colorado Springs, 9-8, on Scott Savastano’s sacrifice fly in the 14th inning.
Through the first four innings Saturday, Rainiers starter James Paxton held the Sky Sox scoreless. In the fifth, Paxton gave up all three Colorado Springs runs, but he escaped more damage thanks to an inning-ending double play.
Paxton went seven innings, allowing six hits and striking out four in a no-decision.
Reliever Forrest Snow, who struck out three and gave up a hit in two innings, improved to 2-0.
Even though the Rainiers outhit the Sky Sox, 10-7, they weren’t able to capitalize with runners in scoring position until the ninth.
Leadoff hitter Abraham Almonte doubled in the first inning, but no one could push him across the plate. In the second, Carlos Triunfel advanced to third, but Ty Kelly couldn’t drive him in.
The Rainiers went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Before Peguero’s grand slam, Jason Jaramillo smashed his second homer of the season to pull Tacoma to 3-1 in the ninth.
Nate Tenbrink continued his success at the plate with two singles. He leads the Rainiers and is tied for 11th in the Pacific Coast League with a .346 batting average over 24 games since the All-Star break.
“Both Peguero and Nate Tenbrink have a lot of talent,” said bench coach Scott Steinmann, who is filling as manager of the Rainiers while John Stearns serves a three-game suspension after his ejection Thursday night at Round Rock.
“They were in a little bit of a lull before, but hitting is in cycles,” Steinmann said. “They’re on that high cycle right now, and we’ll just see how long we can ride that wave.”
The Rainiers have won five consecutive games against the Sky Sox.
The Rainiers will start right-hander Andrew Carraway (6-5, 4.83 ERA) at 1:30 p.m. Sunday against Sky Sox right-hander Sean Gallagher (0-2, 5.73). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.