Ramirez’s rough start dooms Rainiers

Staff writerJuly 1, 2014 

A day after being scratched 30 minutes prior to his scheduled start, Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound Tuesday night for the Tacoma Rainiers.

But the three runs he gave up in the first inning were too much for Tacoma to overcome as they lost to the Reno Aces, 3-2, at Cheney Stadium.

Tacoma put 10 runners on base, but were able to bring only two home.

“We had opportunities, we just didn’t get the big hits when we needed them,” Rainiers manager Roy Howell said.

It was Ramirez’s first start back with the Rainiers. He arrived to the ballpark too late to warm up properly Monday — he said he misjudged the timing of the traffic, and had forgotten to adjust to the 6:05 p.m. start time. Most Rainiers home games start at 7:05 p.m.

“There’s no excuse,” Ramirez said of missing his start. “I have to be here.”

Ramirez had spent most of June in the Seattle Mariners’ rotation, where he was 1-4 with a 4.58 ERA. He was optioned to Tacoma on June 25 to make room for Taijuan Walker.

He gave up three runs on four hits in the first inning Tuesday, but held the Aces scoreless in the next five. He finished the night with five strikeouts and one walk. At one point, Ramirez retired 12 out of 13 batters.

“I was just trying to work on my command,” he said. “In the first, I was trying to be too perfect, and I was missing. That was my mistake, and after that I started pitching with confidence and hit the corners, and that was working.”

The Rainiers added two runs in the third inning to cut the deficit to one when Ji-Man Choi and Jesus Montero, also recently returned from the Mariners, scored on a Nick Franklin double.

They threatened to add a third run, but Corey Hart was thrown out trying to score on a pop fly to right to end the inning.

Hart was making another rehab start for the Rainiers as the designated hitter, but Justin Smoak, who was originally set to start at first base, was replaced in the lineup by Montero 30 minutes before the game.

“We just gave him the day off,” Howell said. “He’s been playing every day, and Seattle told me we could give him a day off if we wanted to, and we felt like he could benefit from it.”

On Tap

The Rainiers continue their four-game series with Reno at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. Right-hander Matt Palmer (1-4, 4.76 ERA) will face Reno right-hander Trevor Cahill (0-1, 4.85). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.

andy.bixler@thenewstribune.com

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