Long balls did in the Tacoma Rainiers on Thursday at Cheney Stadium, where they lost to the Reno Aces, 4-3.
But there were a couple of oddball occurrences along the way, too.
“It was one of those games that got away from us,” Tacoma manager Roy Howell said. “We had opportunity, and we didn’t take advantage of it. (Relief pitch Stephen Pryor) made a couple of mistakes, and they didn’t miss them. You can throw a thousand pitches and get a thousand outs; you throw one bad pitch and the guy hits it 400 feet. That was unfortunate. We didn’t play well enough to win that baseball game.”
The guy doing most of the damage was Reno center fielder Roger Kieschnick, who had two of the Aces’ three home runs and drove in three runs.
Reno (27-21) took a 1-0 lead in the first on a Kieschnick homer to right.
The Rainiers pulled even with a run in the third and moved ahead with two in the fourth.
The oddities began in the fifth, when Tacoma second baseman Ty Kelly was called out on strikes, argued and was thrown out of the game.
Howell didn’t have many options and responded with a substitution and three defensive changes, including sending catcher Humberto Quintero to first base for the first time in a Pacific Coast League game since 2008 when he played at Round Rock.
“At home (in Venezuela) in the winter time he’s played first base,” Howell said. “Did it put a little monkey wrench in? Yeah, for a second there. You got to say, ‘OK, let me just make sure.’ We just had one guy left, and catching is always the thing: You can’t burn up your catchers in case one of them gets hurt. … These guys are versatile, and you tip your hat to them. They can play a lot of positions. It was just a matter of not good timing when I get my three hitter tossed out of the game.”
Reno moved ahead for good in the seventh inning when Kieschnick launched his second home run – a two-run shot to right. Nick Evans immediately followed that with a homer to left that put the Aces up, 4-3.
The Rainiers almost tied it again in the bottom of the seventh, which Abraham Almonte led off with a walk. Then Reno pitcher Eury De La Rosa’s pickoff attempt went into the right field bullpen. Almonte sped around second, and when the throw to third base went wide to the fence, Almonte continued home, where he was thrown out by left fielder Evans.
“Being aggressive,” Howell said. “But we’ll work off of it from there: crucial part of the game, and he’s out at the plate.”
Tacoma starter Jordan Pries allowed one run over six innings. Pryor (1-1) got the loss.
Leury Bonilla drove in two of Tacoma’s runs and scored the other. Five Rainiers had one hit each.
The Rainiers (20-24) continue their home stand with a 7:05 p.m. Friday visit from the El Paso Chihuahuas. Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (0-2, 5.51) is scheduled to start for Tacoma. El Paso’s planned starter had not been announced Thursday.
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