LAS VEGAS — The Tacoma Rainiers were happy to get back on the field Thursday night after a sixth rainout this season Tuesday and an off day Wednesday.
The bad news was they opened a four-game series at a Las Vegas 51 team off to the best start in its 32-year franchise history.
Rainiers starting pitcher Andrew Carraway found out just how hot the 51s are and didn’t get help behind him, allowing six runs (two earned) in 42/3 innings as Tacoma fell 11-4 in a battle of Pacific Coast League division leaders.
Jesus Montero led the Rainiers (10-8) with a three-run homer to left in the sixth inning, cutting the 51s’ lead to 6-3. Ty Kelly had a bases-loaded walk in the eighth for the other Tacoma run.
Carraway (0-1, 5.28 ERA), who looked impressive at times, struck out eight with no walks. But two fifth-inning infield errors allowed four unearned 51s runs. Eric Campbell had a two-run double and Daniel Muno had a two-run single for Las Vegas (16-5).
“We didn’t play well,” Tacoma manager Roy Howell said. “Indecision on (Shortstop Chris) Taylor in part. A routine double play has to be made. Next thing, bang, bang, bang. I don’t know if they outplayed us or we beat ourselves.”
Carraway allowed eight hits, throwing 59 strikes on 86 pitches. He also allowed a two-run homer to Zach Lutz (3-for-3) in the second inning.
Carraway’s eight strikeouts was the most for him since 2010 when he had nine with High-A High Desert.
Las Vegas starting pitcher Rafael Montero (3-0, 3.95 ERA) earned the win, going 6 innings, allowing six hits and the three runs on Montero’s blast, while striking out three on 93 pitches.
Lutz also hit a solo homer in the sixth off Tacoma reliever Nick Hill, making it 7-3.
After the second Lutz homer, the 51s added four more runs in the seventh, highlighted by Allan Dykstra’s two-run double to right center off reliever Ramon Ramirez, who allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Chris Taylor, who went 2-for-4 for the Rainiers Thursday, has now hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games — 23-for-48 (.479). Gabriel Noriega went 3-for-4 with a double.
“Noriega hit the ball well,” Howell said. “We have to keep playing. We’ll come back tomorrow.”
Thursday’s game started an eight-game road trip for the Rainiers, concluding with four in Sacramento starting Monday.
The teams meet again at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Right-hander Jordan Pries (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to start for Tacoma against Las Vegas right-hander Noah Syndergaard (2-2, 3.80). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.