Tacoma’s Blash a big splash in Nashville

Contributing writerJune 16, 2014 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Don’t be surprised if Jabari Blash isn’t with the team when the Rainiers return home to Tacoma on Tuesday.

He likes it here in Tennessee — so much that he may just want to stay.

Blash ripped a tiebreaking two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning Sunday afternoon, leading the Rainiers to a 4-3 win over the Nashville Sounds.

Tacoma has won the first three games in Nashville, and Blash has homered in each of them. Before the Nashville series, Blash went 6-for-13 over three games in Memphis.

Blash has driven in at least one run in all six games in which he has played this trip.

“He’s swinging it,” Tacoma manager Roy Howell said. “He’s seeing the ball well, and when he gets pitches out over the plate he’s not missing them.”

Sunday’s homer came with the score 2-2 in the top of the seventh.

Tacoma had missed out on several scoring opportunities earlier in the game, particularly in the first three innings against wild Nashville starter Ariel Pena.

Nick Franklin was at second base with one out, and Blash was facing Nashville reliever Arcenio Leon.

“It was a 3-2 count, and I was just looking to drive the ball and get the run in,” Blash said. “He left a slider over the plate, and I was able to put a good swing on it and hit it out of the ballpark.”

The homer extended Blash’s hitting streak to 10 consecutive games — matching the longest of his career.

Over his past 15 games, he has hit eight home runs with 21 RBIs.

Chance Ruffin (3-3) earned the win, delivering three highly efficient innings in relief of starter Forrest Snow.

Ruffin allowed one hit and faced the minimum number of batters over the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.

“Ruffin was attacking them inside,” Howell said. “He was very aggressive throwing strikes.”

Snow, a former University of Washington star, made his 2014 Tacoma debut, lasting five innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits and did not walk a batter.

The victory was Tacoma’s fourth in a row. That’s the team’s longest winning streak since taking six in a row from April 12-18.

Tacoma (30-39) has gone 5-2 on this trip, with one game remaining. The Rainiers are shooting for their first series sweep of the season — and Blash gets another chance to extend his home run streak.

ON TAP

The last game of Tacoma’s trip is at 5:05 p.m. Monday, and it is the Rainiers’ final game ever at Greer Stadium. Tacoma will start right-hander Andrew Carraway (2-4, 4.99 ERA) against Nashville right-hander Jimmy Nelson (7-1, 1.51).

Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.

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