WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Tacoma Rainiers’ best pitching performance of the 2014 season turned into a downer, as Sacramento topped Tacoma in the 10th inning, 2-1.
Starting pitcher Anthony Fernandez was working on a one-hit shutout with two outs in the sixth inning, when he left the game with an apparent elbow injury.
Fernandez threw a pitch to Tyler Ladendorf, then called out catcher Manny Pina. Pina immediately signaled for trainer Tom Newberg, and Fernandez left the game without throwing a practice pitch.
Fernandez was seen in the dugout pointing at his left elbow while talking to Newberg and pitching coach Jaime Navarro.
“He just had some tightness and he’s smart about it,” Rainiers manager Roy Howell said.
The game was scoreless when Fernandez left the game, as the Rainiers’ offense was being silenced by River Cats starter Zachary Neal. Neal — who allowed four home runs to the Rainiers on April 21 at Cheney Stadium — carried a three-hit shutout into the seventh inning.
Ty Kelly opened the inning with a single to right, and a wild pitch sent him to second base. Chris Taylor then ripped a 3-0 pitch to left field for a double, scoring Kelly and giving Tacoma a 1-0 lead.
The Tacoma bullpen of Nick Hill and Zach Miner maintained the 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, when Logan Bawcom was summoned to close it out.
Bawcom proceeded to give up three singles, including Michael Taylor’s tying RBI grounder to right field.
Bawcom retired the first two batters in the last of the 10th before Ladendorf doubled to left center. Alden Carrithers ended the game with a deep drive to right-center field, on which right fielder Leury Bonilla just missed making a diving catch. The ball glanced off his glove for a game-ending double.
Tacoma (11-11) has lost four of its last five games, and fell two games behind first-place Sacramento in the Pacific North standings.
Jesus Montero was 0-for-4, ending his hitting streak at 11 straight games. ... Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Rickey Henderson was in the Sacramento dugout. Rickey helps coach base running to A’s minor leaguers.
The second game of the series is Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. (PDT). Tacoma starts Andrew Carraway (1-1, 5.28 ERA) against Sacramento’s Josh Lindblom (1-2, 7.23 ERA).Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.