Almonte, Rainiers have tough game on road

Contributing writerMay 19, 2014 

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Tacoma Rainiers center fielder Abraham Almonte had an adventurous sixth inning at Sacramento on Sunday afternoon — and it was an adventure he’d rather not go on again.

Almonte had five consecutive balls hit to him by the River Cats in the inning, and four of them were difficult plays.

Only one went Tacoma’s way as Sacramento scored four runs in the inning, and the River Cats went on to a 6-1 victory.

“We had five in a row in that area, and all kinds of things happened,” Rainiers manager Roy Howell said. “They got the breaks, and we didn’t.”

The loss concluded a 12-game trip in which the Rainiers went 4-8, and it dropped Tacoma’s overall record to 19-21 going into a long homestand that starts Monday.

Almonte gave the Rainiers a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when he hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out wild pitch.

The way Tacoma’s Erasmo Ramirez was pitching, it looked as if that run might stand up.

Ramirez carried a two-hit shutout into the sixth inning, having retired 15 of the first 17 batters.

“He stayed in balance, made his pitches, kept the ball down,” Howell said. “We just didn’t support him.”

Sacramento’s Tyler Ladendorf opened the bottom of the sixth with a single to left, and Ramirez retired the next batter.

Jose Martinez followed with a single to center, and Almonte briefly bobbled the ball, allowing Ladendorf to take third base on the error.

The next batter was Shane Peterson, who hit a sinking line drive to center. Almonte got a good read on the ball and charged, but barely missed making a shoestring catch.

Instead, it went for a tying RBI single.

The outfield played deep for clean-up hitter Nate Freiman, who hit a pop fly to shallow center that dropped in front of the charging Almonte for a single.

That loaded the bases for Stephen Vogt.

Vogt, who lives in Tumwater during the offseason, flied out to center, and Almonte’s strong throw home briefly prevented Sacramento from scoring the go-ahead run.

But Michael Taylor’s two-out drive to center brought in two runs. Almonte chased the deep fly to the fence, but he tripped and fell as he was making his final adjustment.

The ball landed inches from where Almonte tumbled to the ground, and bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double.

By the time the inning ended, Sacramento had a 4-1 lead and the game in hand.

River Cats starting pitcher Marcus Walden earned the win, allowing one run on four hits over seven innings.

FRANKLIN SCRATCHED

Originally listed as Tacoma’s starting left fielder, Nick Franklin was scratched from the lineup minutes before first pitch after Seattle Mariners outfielder Corey Hart suffered a hamstring injury. No official roster move has been made yet.

ON TAP

The Rainiers open a 13-game, 12-day homestand with a Monday night game against the Reno Aces at 6:05. Tacoma starts right-hander Matt Palmer (0-0, 3.38 ERA) against Reno right-hander Bo Schultz (2-3, 5.29).

Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.

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