Jordan Pries’ final start in May wasn’t as sharp as the four that preceded it.
Not that it mattered. The way the Tacoma Rainiers hit the ball (or didn’t) against Salt Lake Bees starter Jarrett Grube on Tuesday wasn’t going to be good enough to win, regardless of who Tacoma sent to the mound.
Pries, who has been otherwise stellar since being selected from Double-A Jackson on April 19, allowed four runs in the third inning (though Tacoma’s defense didn’t offer much assistance) and another in the fourth. The Rainiers lost their fourth consecutive game, 6-1, before a crowd of 2,125 at Cheney Stadium.
Tacoma did finish with seven hits and a few hard outs, and had a couple rallies against the Bees’ bullpen. But their only run was a sacrifice fly by Jesus Montero in the eighth inning.
“I think we had five or six line drives before we got a hit tonight. Sometimes it goes that way when you’re not going very well,” Rainiers manager Roy Howell said. “You hit balls right at people. Little mistakes cost you big. I think we’re in that funk a little bit right now.”
Pries (3-3) didn’t allow more than one run in any of his previous four starts in May, and had allowed just one run total in two previous starts at Cheney.
But Pries walked a batter to load the bases with two outs in the third inning. Salt Lake first baseman Efren Navarro then hit a catchable drive toward left-center. Tacoma left fielder Xavier Avery got a lot of glove on it, but he dropped it, three runs scored and Navarro was credited with a double.
Avery also got some glove on Roberto Lopez’s fly ball one batter later, but that, too, dropped and Lopez had an RBI triple.
“(Pries) was up in the zone, and he was working on trying to get down, but we didn’t make some plays behind him,” Howell said. “Avery had a couple chances out there, a couple tough chances, and if he catches that ball, that probably helps him out of that inning.”
The Rainiers’ first hit didn’t come until two outs in the fifth inning when shortstop Gabriel Noriega hit a double to right.
Tacoma (21-29) loaded the bases in the seventh. But Endy Chavez grounded out to end the threat.
Grube, a former Rainier, pitched 62/3 innings and allowed five hits.
Center fielder Abraham Almonte did not play. He left Tuesday’s game after fouling a ball off his toe, and is considered day to day.
Howell said he didn’t know of a timetable for the return of Chris Taylor, the Rainiers infielder who was batting .372 before being placed on the disabled list May 15 with a fractured pinkie. Howell said he thought Taylor was scheduled for a doctor’s appointment Tuesday, but hadn’t received an update.
“He’s a nice player, so they just want to make sure we don’t re-injure something,” Howell said.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment for the Rainiers at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. Left-hander Brooks Raley (0-2, 11.37 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for Salt Lake. The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.email@example.com