Pries pitches Rainiers past River Cats again, 8-0

Contributing writerApril 30, 2014 

— If Jordan Pries faced the Sacramento River Cats in every start, the Pacific Coast League might have to re-write the record book.

For the second time in three Triple-A starts, the Tacoma right-hander faced Sacramento. And for the second time, he shut out Sacramento for six innings, allowing a minimal number of hits.

Pries and Logan Kensing combined on a four-hit shutout, as Tacoma picked up an 8-0 win on Wednesday night.

Pries allowed just two singles and three walks, while racking up six strikeouts. In his Triple-A debut on April 20, he held Sacramento to one hit over six innings.

“He’s hitting his spots,” said Tacoma manager Roy Howell. “He’s throwing his fastball to both sides of the plate, he’s using his breaking ball, he’s using his cutter. When you throw strikes up, down, in, and out, you’re tough to beat.”

Tacoma (13-11) has won two straight games, and the team will finish the eight-game road trip with a 4-4 record if they can win the finale Thursday. That would be an accomplishment, seeing how they lost the first three games of the journey.

James Jones staked Pries to an early lead, ripping a two-run homer to right-center in the top of the first inning off Sacramento starter Josh Lindblom. After that, Lindblom matched Pries inning-for-inning until the seventh.

Humberto Quintero connected on a two-out double to score Ty Kelly in the seventh, making it 3-0. A walk and a single later, the bases were loaded for Jones.

Jones hit a grounder back to Lindstrom, who made a barehanded grab of the baseball but then threw wildly to first base, allowing two runs to score.

The River Cats summoned reliever Jose Flores to face Jesus Montero. Montero unloaded on a 2-2 pitch, launching a deep three-run homer to straightaway center. It was the seventh homer of the season for Montero, and it gave Tacoma an 8-0 lead.

Montero has homered in five of his last eight games.

“Power hitters can get streaky,” said Howell. “He and (hitting coach) Cory Snyder have been working really hard at trying to stay on the fastball. Hit the mistake breaking ball, but stay on that fastball and drive it to center field.”

The shutout was the second pitched by Tacoma this year. The pitching staff has allowed just two earned runs over the first three games of the Sacramento series.

SHORT HOPS

Outfielder Jabari Blash was promoted from Double-A Jackson, where he was hitting .262 with five homers and 20 RBI in 25 games. He went 0-for-5 in his Triple-A debut. … To make room for Blash on the roster, outfielder Julio Morban was transferred to extended spring training. Morban is still rehabilitating a broken leg suffered last August, and he was limited to a designated hitter role for Tacoma.

ON TAP

The road trip concludes with a Thursday night game at 7:05 in Sacramento. Tacoma starts Chance Ruffin (0-2, 8.44) against Sacramento’s Arnold Leon (1-1, 3.75).

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