They didn’t seem like big deals at the time, but on multiple occasions, the Isotopes gifted the Rainiers a free base.
Three such blunders led to Tacoma runs, providing the difference in the Rainiers’ 5-2 victory against Albuquerque on Sunday at Cheney Stadium.
The game was tied at 2 entering the bottom of the seventh. Catcher Tuffy Gosewisch drew a two-out walk before taking second on a wild pitch from Austin House. Gosewisch scored the go-ahead run on Leonys Martin’s double moments afterward.
“That’s just fundamental baseball,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said. “We haven’t really swung the bat as well as I think we can this week. To win close games, you have to manufacture runs and do the little things right. Today we did them right.”
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Gordon Beckham drove in Martin with a single for a 4-2 lead.
Martin’s double was a small part of a stellar day; he added two stolen bases to bring his season total to 18. He also had three hits.
One of Martin’s steals came in the first inning. Once he was declared safe, Martin got up and scampered to third base after an errant throw toward second. He then scored on Beckham’s groundout to second base.
A wild pitch in the fourth inning from Matt Flemer allowed D.J. Peterson to advance to third base, and a single from Andrew Aplin — his ninth consecutive game with a hit — scored Peterson.
Rainiers (42-39) starter Cody Martin pitched four efficient innings. The right-hander had arguably his best outing of the season, surrendering only two hits and no walks while tallying seven strikeouts. His previous season-long was 3 2/3 innings.
“He told me he was starting to feel like his old self again,” Listach said. “I expected good things, and I saw good things. It was really good. He wanted to go back out for a fifth inning.”
Martin’s appearance on the mound shows further comfort in his previously strained right elbow.
Tacoma’s bullpen delivered for the second straight game, allowing only three hits and two runs in the game’s final five innings.