LAS VEGAS — Tacoma Rainiers starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez wish he could take back just one inning Monday night — the second.
The right-handed starter allowed five runs in the inning as the Rainiers fell to the Las Vegas 51s, 9-4, in front of 4,017 at Cashman Field.
Tacoma had a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the second. Chris Taylor’s RBI single scoring Xavier Avery, who led off the game with a double, made it 1-0. Ty Kelly homered to right for Tacoma the next inning.
But Ramirez surrendered a three-run homer to Allan Dykstra and a solo shot to Matt den Kekker in the bottom of the second. Ramirez (0-1) lasted five innings, allowing nine hits.
The Rainiers (18-17), who committed four errors, fell into second place in the Pacific Coast League’s Northern Division as Sacramento took the top spot by one game by defeating Salt Lake, 7-6. Meanwhile, the 51s (27-11) continue to hold the PCL’s best record and lead the Southern Division.
“Pitching can’t survive with four errors,” Tacoma manager Roy Howell said. “One or two, you can pick (them) up by driving in some runs and helping them out. We played poorly defensively and we didn’t get some big hits.”
Jesus Montero had an RBI sacrifice fly in the sixth for Tacoma, and Humberto Quintero led off the seventh with a triple and scored on Leury Bonilla’s groundout, trimming the Rainiers’ deficit to 6-4. But the 51s countered with three runs in the eighth to secure the win.
Taylor went 3-for-4 and is hitting .371.
“He works really hard to get pitches to hit,” Howell said. “He’s getting to the point now where he’s getting those pitches and he’s not missing. Good hitters do that.”
Las Vegas pitcher Joel Carreno (1-0) made a spot start and earned the win. He went 52/3 innings, allowing six hits and three runs.
Nick Franklin cooled off slightly for Tacoma. The Triple-A batting leader went 0-for-1 with two walks. He also had two errors and let a runner score from third as he held the ball after committing an error in the fifth. In the first two games, Franklin was 7-for-9 with a three-run homer. He is now hitting .384.
The Rainiers conclude their four-game series against the 51s at 10:35 a.m. (PDT). Tacoma has yet to announce its starter. Las Vegas will go with RHP Logan Verret (2-2, 4.58 ERA). Game will be broadcast on 850-AM.