A big first inning lifted the Tacoma Rainiers (10-6) to their third consecutive victory on Saturday night, a 5-3 decision over the Isotopes (7-10) at Isotopes Ballpark in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Tacoma starting pitcher Christian Bergman (3-0) earned the win after working 6 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on eight hits. He also walked two and struck out three.
The Rainiers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first on run-scoring singles from designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, right fielder Ben Gamel, and third baseman D.J Peterson.
Albuquerque got on the board for the first time in the bottom of the third, cutting Tacoma’s lead in half with a pair of runs. Daniel Castro dribbled a one-out single down the third base line that barely stayed fair and moved to third on a double down the left field line from Raimel Tapia. The Isotopes runs came across on a groundout to shortstop and an RBI single by Mike Tauchman that deflected off Bergman, making the score 4-2.
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A pair of back-to-back one-out singles by first baseman Dario Pizzano and shortstop Tyler Smith knocked Albuquerque starter Matt Flemer out of the game, giving way to Johendi Jiminian, who balked both runners into scoring position. In the next at-bat, catcher Tuffy Gosewisch lifted a sacrifice fly into right to score Pizzano and extend Tacoma’s lead to 5-2.
The Isotopes mounted their final stand in the bottom of the ninth, as Daniel Castro knocked in Raimel Tapia on an RBI single to cut the Rainiers lead to two runs at 5-3.
Dean Kiekhefer and Casey Fien combined for 2 2/3 innings to limit Albuquerque to just one run on three hits with Fien earning his first save of the season.
The Rainiers send right-hander Sam Gaviglio (0-2, 3.38 ERA) to face off against righty Zach Jemiola (1-1, 9.53) as the series continues tomorrow. First pitch is set for 12:35 p.m.