Tacoma falls short despite late heroics

Staff writer Contributing writerMay 31, 2014 

Rainiers lose 4-3 in longest game of season Down one with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Tacoma Rainiers got a second chance to beat the Salt Lake Bees when Ty Kelly hit a solo home run to send the game to extra innings.

It wasn’t enough to get a win, however, as the Bees beat the Rainiers, 4-3, in 11 innings Friday night at Cheney Stadium.

Played in front of 5,912 fans, the Rainiers’ longest game this season was its fourth extra-inning loss and the 10th loss in the past 13 games, dropping them to 22-31.

Josh Hamilton, a five-time major league all-star, suited up for the Bees (20-36) Friday in what could possibly be his last rehab start before returning to the Los Angeles Angels, Salt Lake’s big league affiliate. Hamilton tore a ligament in his left thumb sliding head-first into first base against the Mariners on April 9.

The 2010 AL MVP, who went 2-for-4 with a strikeout, scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly in the fourth after reaching third on throwing error by Rainiers starting pitcher Matt Palmer.

Gabriel Noriega and Jabari Blash both scored for the Rainiers in the sixth — Noriega on an error by Bees second basemen Taylor Lindsey — giving Tacoma a 2-1 lead.

But the next inning, Matt Long tied things up, scoring Efren Navarro on a bloop base hit to center field.

Tacoma had a chance to take the lead in the eighth with the bases loaded and one out for Xavier Avery. But Bees pitcher Kyler Newby got Avery to hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Tied at 2 going into the top of the ninth, the Bees pulled ahead when Efren Navarro, on second after a sacrifice bunt, scored on a ground ball through the legs of first basemen Jesus Montero.

Kelly’s homer gave the Rainiers new life, but a sacrifice fly by Hamilton’s replacement, Zach Borenstein, gave the Bees a 4-3 lead in the 11th.

Cory Rasmus (2-1, 4.56 ERA) pitched 2 innings, allowing no hits and striking out two to earn the win. Logan Bawcom (1-3, 6.41 ERA) took the loss.


Tacoma travels to El Paso, Texas, to begin a four-game series with the El Paso Chihuahuas on Saturday. The Rainiers will send right-hander Andrew Carraway (2-4, 4.53 ERA) against righty Billy Buckner (3-2, 2.89 ERA). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.

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