LAS VEGAS — The Tacoma Rainiers ran into the Las Vegas 51s again Friday night.
They also ran into the wind.
Despite a home run from Jesus Montero for a second consecutive game and some late-inning feistiness, the Rainiers lost to Las Vegas for the second straight night, 7-6.
Players dealt with winds consistently blowing out to center and right fields at 20 to 30 mph.
“You never know what will happen with conditions like this out there,” Tacoma manager Roy Howell said. “It was a little shaky. You got to get fighting, keep battling. The wind was blowing across.”
Montero’s homer to right came in the fourth off Las Vegas starter and Mets pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard (3-2, 5.04 ERA), who reached
97 mph. He went five innings, allowing six hits, three earned runs and striking out six on 96 pitches as the Pacific Coast League Pacific North and South leaders met in the second game of a four-game series.
With the Rainiers (10-9) trailing, 7-4, in the eighth, Tacoma’s Manny Pina had an RBI double with no outs.
Two outs later, Xavier Avery’s triple, which appeared to be a foul ball down the left-field line, blew back fair and landed between three Las Vegas players, scoring Pina and making it 7-6. But James Jones grounded out to first to end the final real Tacoma threat.
The Rainiers’ Ty Kelly reached base four times, going 3-for-4 and scoring two runs. But he struck out to end the game with a runner on first against reliever Jeff Walters, who earned his sixth save.
“You have your 2-3-4-5 guys coming to the plate,” Howell said. “You can’t ask for a better situation at the plate. We just didn’t get the job done.”
Tacoma starting pitcher Jordan Pries (0-1, 4.22) lasted 4† innings, allowing five runs — all earned — seven hits and four walks against Las Vegas (17-5).
He gave up two runs in the first, the second on a catchable wind-blown double to left field by Allan Dykstra (2-for-4). Left fielder Avery overran the ball in the twilight.
The Rainiers fell behind, 3-0, but rallied to tie the score thanks to Chris Taylor’s RBI double to left in the third, and Montero’s homer and Leury Bonilla’s RBI double in the fourth.
Las Vegas’ Zach Lutz had a two-run double in the fifth to give the 51s the lead for good.
The Rainiers and 51s meet at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Game 3 of the four-game series. Tacoma will start right-hander Chance Ruffin (0-1, 6.08 ERA) against Las Vegas righty Jacob deGrom (2-2, 4.95 ERA). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.