Too many mistakes and two home runs by Fresno Grizzlies’ center fielder Teoscar Hernandez was too much for the Tacoma Rainiers to overome on Thursday as they lost, 5-1, at Cheney Stadium.
In their first game after the Triple-A All-Star break, the Rainiers took an early 1-0 lead in a third inning on Daniel Vogelbach’s RBI double that could have been even bigger if not for two runners – Leonys Martin and Vogelbach – getting thrown out on the bases.
Rainiers manager Pat Listach said the mental mistakes hurt his team.
“The baserunning killed us tonight to be honest,” Listach said. “Physical errors are part of the game. Sometimes you’re going to get a bad hop, sometimes you’re going to miss a cut-off man, but mental errors like that come and go, and you try to eliminate as many of them as you can.”
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Fresno grabbed the lead in the fifth with a four-run inning highlighted by a monster home run to left field by Hernandez and a two-run triple by Jon Kemmer. The Grizzlies’ rally was aided by two walks from Rainiers starter Sam Gaviglio and an error by Vogelbach.
Hernandez made it 5-1 in the sixth when he connected for his second homer, this time off reliever Ryan Kelly.
That was enough against four Fresno pitchers, who combined for 12 strikeouts. Starter Trent Thornton earned the win and struck out seven in his five innings.
Gaviglio, just back from a stint with the Seattle Mariners, surrendered three hits and four runs in five innings. He struck out four.
A highlight was provided by Cody Martin, who threw three perfect ininngs of relief and struck out seven.
“You want to come in and keep (the score) where it’s at,” Martin said. “ You don't ever want to let it get out of control. We were still in striking distance in three runs – we can do that easy with this lineup.”
Listach said Martin will make his second start of the season for the Rainiers next week when they hit the road.
Tacoma is in action on Friday against the Grizzlies as they try to even the series starting at 7:05 p.m.