LAS VEGAS — This weekend continues to be a forgettable one for the Tacoma Rainiers.
After dropping the first two to the Las Vegas 51s in a four-game set, the Rainers fell again, 11-3, Saturday night at Cashman Field.
The Rainiers’ last hope for a victory in Las Vegas comes at noon Sunday. Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma will make his first start of the season — a rehab start for the Rainiers. He is coming off a finger injury and threw a 58-pitch simulated game Tuesday with Seattle.
“The guy knows how to pitch,” Tacoma manager Roy Howell said. “We just have to play defense. He knows what he wants to do. It’s a matter of execution on his part.”
Tacoma starting pitcher Chance Ruffin (0-2, 8.44 ERA) took the loss Saturday as four of the first five 51s batters scored during a five-run first inning. He lasted 22/3 innings, allowing six earned runs, four hits and five walks while striking out six on 72 pitches.
Howell has not been happy with the umpiring this weekend.
“We’re having three-and-half-hour games,” he said. “Ask the umpires. That’s all I got to say (about tonight).”
The Rainiers (10-10) fell two games behind first-place Sacramento (13-9) in the Pacific Northern Division.
Tacoma’s Xavier Avery drove in two runs with sacrifice flies in the second and fourth innings.
Jesus Montero increased his hitting streak to 10 games with two singles for Tacoma. He also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth. He leads the Rainiers with 15 RBIs.
Chris Taylor went 3-for-5, raising his average to .395, and Gabriel Noriega went 2-for-4 in the loss.
Jonathan Arias relieved Ruffin and went two innings, allowing two runs and three hits. Clay Rapada threw the next 2 innings, giving up three runs and two hits. All 11 Las Vegas runs were earned.
For the 51s (18-5), who have won six straight, Taylor Teagarden (five RBIs) hit two homers to right — a two-run shot in the first and a three-run blast in the sixth.
Las Vegas starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (3-0, 1.84 ERA) went five innings, allowing two runs and seven hits in the win.
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma makes his season debut for Tacoma at 12:05 p.m. today. Las Vegas will start righty Logan Verrett (1-1, 4.87 ERA).
The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.