Rainiers put broom to Nashville

Contributing writerJune 17, 2014 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tacoma Rainiers said goodbye to Greer Stadium in the best way possible: by shutting out the Nashville Sounds, 9-0, to complete a four-game series sweep at the venerable ballpark.

It was Tacoma’s first four-game sweep at Nashville since the 2003 season. The next one — whenever it might come — will be at the Sounds’ new downtown stadium, which opens next season.

Andrew Carraway pitched seven shutout innings in the unexpected whitewashing of the Sounds and their best pitcher, Jimmy Nelson.

Carraway allowed six hits and walked one. Three times he escaped innings in which Nashville had a runner at third base with fewer than two outs to help the Rainiers win their fifth in a row.

“He established his change-up early, and they seemed to be looking for it later,” said Tacoma manager Roy Howell. “He pitched very nicely.”

Tacoma scored three unearned runs against Nelson in the second inning, with three hits and two Nashville errors. Abraham Almonte’s two-run double to left-center capped the rally.

Nelson tired in the sixth and walked two batters to load the bases with two outs. Xavier Nady’s two-run single off reliever Dustin Molleken made it 5-0.

Nelson — who entered the game leading the Pacific Coast League in wins (seven) and ERA (1.51) — allowed five runs (two earned) in 52/3 innings. Tacoma (31-39) had eight hits off him and ended Nelson’s string of 11 consecutive quality starts.

“Fortunately for us, he was a little out of sync and we took advantage of it,” Howell said.

The benches cleared after Molleken hit Tacoma’s Jabari Blash in the head with a first-pitch fastball in the top of the seventh inning, but there was no fight.

Molleken had thrown up-and-in to Blash in the opening game of the series on Friday. All told, Blash was hit by a pitch three times in the series — matching the number of home runs he hit.

Blash stayed in the game after the beaning. He went 0-for-4 on Monday, ending his 10-game hitting streak.

RELIEVER RAPADA LEAVES

Veteran left-handed reliever Clay Rapada exercised an option in his contract and became a free agent after Sunday’s game. The Rainiers replaced him in the bullpen by activating Carson Smith from the disabled list.

ON TAP

The Rainiers return home for a 6:05 p.m. game Tuesday against Colorado Springs. Tacoma starts Jordan Pries (4-5, 2.62 ERA) against Yohan Flande (2-9, 4.82). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.

Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.

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