It wasn’t the way Forrest Snow wanted his first start this season with the Tacoma Rainiers to begin — two walks and a single loaded up the bases for visiting Sacramento in the first inning.
“Take a deep breath and keep attacking,” said Snow about how he responded following the shaky start.
The approach proved successful as Snow gave up just one hit the rest of the way while fanning eight batters.
Snow pitched five shutout innings, Ji-Man Choi hit a pair of doubles and scored twice and Tacoma knocked off visiting Sacramento, 7-1, in Pacific Coast League action Friday at Cheney Stadium.
The Rainiers (74-67) have three games remaining in the regular season — all against the River Cats (78-63).
Already eliminated from the playoffs – thanks to Thursday’s loss to PCL Pacific North Division winner Salt Lake – the Rainiers can now spoil Sacramento’s postseason chances as one River Cats defeat over the final three games secures the PCL Pacific South Division title for Las Vegas.
Snow, currently in his second stint with the Rainiers, allowed two hits, walked three and struck out eight in five innings in his first start this season for Tacoma to improve to 4-0. Appearing as a reliever in 18 previous games with the Rainiers, Snow’s rocky start gave the River Cats a bases- loaded opportunity in the first inning with one out.
The right-hander was able to escape the first without the River Cats getting on the scoreboard and parlayed that success over the next four innings, giving up just one hit while retiring 12 of the next 14 batters he faced.
“It’s been a year since I was in that routine as a starter. It took some adjusting,” Snow said. “After that first inning, I calmed down a little bit and was able to throw my stuff. I think I tried to do a little too much early instead of just going after guys like I would if I was coming out of the bullpen.”
Nick Hill, a left-hander added to the roster Friday from Double-A Jackson, took over for Snow, tossing 1-2-3 innings in both the sixth and the seventh with two strikeouts.
Logan Bawcom closed things out, pitching a scoreless eighth before giving up a run on a wild pitch in the ninth to notch his team-high 21st save on the year.
Center fielder James Jones, also promoted from Jackson, went 1-for-4 in his Rainiers debut.
The Rainiers continue their home series finale with the River Cats Saturday at 7:05. Blake Beavan (5-6, 6.00 ERA) starts for Tacoma, while Sacramento counters with Bruce Billings (13-7, 4.40).