LAS VEGAS — The howling desert winds took over in the top of the eighth inning of the Tacoma Rainiers’ game Saturday night.
With two outs, none on and a 5-5 tie, the Rainiers’ contest with the Las Vegas 51s was suspended because of an eerie wind-and-dust storm.
For the first six innings, winds blew between 25 and 30 mph to center field and then right with no dust. By the seventh, a dust storm was taking over Cashman Field and sent many of the 8,072 fans to the exits.
In the eighth, Las Vegas players in the field could not stand up and turned to shield themselves from the wind coming from left field as the remaining fans left the ballpark. The umpires finally sent the players to the clubhouse at 9:53 p.m. before it was called at 10:25.
The game was scheduled to resume at noon Sunday. The regularly scheduled Sunday game will start 25 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
The weather forecast calls for more wind Sunday.
As for the game, Tacoma (17-15) built leads of 3-0 and 5-1 in a battle of Pacific Coast League division leaders.
In the first inning, Nick Franklin put the Rainiers on the scoreboard with an opposite-field, three-run homer to left after Xavier Avery singled and Chris Taylor doubled off 51s starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard — the New York Mets’ top prospect and 16th best in baseball, according to Baseball America.
Franklin went 3-for-3 with a double, a walk and two runs scored. He was a triple away from the cycle. In the third, Franklin had an RBI single then scored on an error for a 5-1 lead.
Taylor also went 3-for-3 with a triple and two runs.
Tacoma starting pitcher Andrew Carraway went five innings, allowing eight hits and four runs.
Logan Kensing pitched the next two innings and allowed the tying run on Allan Dykstra’s sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Syndergaard settled down, striking out 10 and walking none. He lasted six innings, allowing eight hits and five runs.
Matt den Dekker was 3-for-3 for Las Vegas (25-10), which has won four in a row.
This is the teams’ eighth meeting of the season, and the Rainiers’ second trip to Las Vegas in about two weeks. They dropped three of four the last time at Cashman Field, with windy conditions in all four games.
Rainiers right-hander Jordan Pries (2-1, 2.08 ERA) was slated to start for Tacoma in the regularly scheduled game Sunday against 51s left-hander Dana Eveland (2-1, 5.25). Both games will be broadcast on 850-AM.