The Tacoma Rainiers’ five-game winning streak against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox came to a halt Sunday afternoon at Cheney Stadium.
Although the Rainiers were held to seven hits, none for extra bases, in their 5-2 loss, they were able to score a pair of runs in the sixth largely because of two Sky Sox errors.
After Jesus Sucre reached first on an error by Colorado center fielder Tim Wheeler and advanced to second when Joseph Dunigan walked, Nate Tenbrink singled him home. Since July 18, Tenbrink has led the Pacific Coast League with a .635 slugging percentage.
“I’m not trying to do too much at the plate,” Tenbrink said. “I’m not thinking about my swing too much. (My approach) has worked out so far.”
Later in the inning, Leury Bonilla reached first on an error by shortstop Drew Garcia, allowing Dunigan to score. Abraham Almonte walked to load the bases but Ty Kelly popped up to end the inning.
Ben Paulsen provided most of the Sky Sox’s offense, blasting a three-run home run in the third to open the scoring and adding an RBI single in the fifth.
The Sky Sox scored their final run in the fifth when Reid Brignac came home on a wild pitch by Rainiers starter Andrew Carraway.
Carraway surrendered five runs in six innings, striking out six and walking two. Carraway hasn’t had much luck against Colorado; in five appearances, he has allowed 22 runs while striking out 16.
“Overall, I am pleased (with my location),” Carraway said.
“I do need to keep on improving on it, though. There are a couple of pitches that I would like to have back. I need to make sure my mental approach is the same every time.”
Tom Wilhelmsen pitched two innings of scoreless relief in the seventh and eighth and Chance Ruffin didn’t allow a run in the ninth.
With 15 games remaining in the season, the Rainiers appear poised to finish in second place to the Salt Lake Bees. The Bees currently hold a six-game lead.
“It’s kind of been a whirlwind of a season with a pitching coach change and a lot of player moves,” said Scott Steinmann, who is acting manager while John Stearns serves a suspension. “We’re just trying to stay afloat every day.”
Tacoma won by walk-off hits in each of its first two games of the homestand against the Sky Sox.
The series with Colorado Springs continues with a game at 7:05 p.m. Monday at Cheney Stadium. The Rainiers are scheduled to send Hector Noesi (3-2, 6.75 ERA) to the mound against Colorado Springs right-hander Colin McHugh (2-1, 4.15). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.San Horn: 253-306-9209 email@example.com