Hits have been hard to come by for the Tacoma Rainers, but on Thursday at Cheney Stadium it was the bats that stole the show.
Tacoma used nine hits to beat the Reno Aces, 5-1, in front of 7,035 fans. The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Rainiers.
“We kind of woke up, finally,” Rainiers manager Roy Howell said.
Tacoma starting pitcher Jordan Pries gave a strong performance, allowing only one run and striking out seven. After a tough outing June 28 in El Paso, he said he wanted to establish not only his fastball, but also his change-up and curveball early.
“I made a point to try to mix my pitches tonight,” Pries said. “Early on I started with that mentality, trying to get them all going.”
The one run he allowed came in the fifth inning, when Ronny Cedeno scored on a single by Danny Dorn to push the Reno out in front, 1-0.
But the Aces lead didn’t last long.
Tacoma countered in the sixth, when Humberto Quintero scored on a single by Chris Taylor. The rally really started the batter before, when Xavier Avery moved Quintero from first to second on a sacrifice bunt. That run ended a 20-inning scoreless drought.
“That was well-executed by him, and then the guys kind of piled on,” Howell said.
After that, the wheels came off for Aces pitcher Charles Brewer. A bases-loaded double that reached the wall by Ji-Man Choi scored two more runs, and would have scored three, had Justin Smoak not been thrown out at home.
Choi then scored on the next at-bat, when Nick Franklin knocked him home with a double of his own, giving the Rainiers a 4-1 advantage.
Franklin, who was named to the Triple-A All-Star game Thursday, pushed his hitting streak to 12 games with the double. Batting .301 with 9 home runs, the second baseman has had nine RBIs since June 20.
Three of Franklin’s teammates were also selected as All Stars, the most selections for the Rainiers since 2001.
Gabriel Noriega (.328, 1 HR) Taylor (.322, 5 HR) and reliever Logan Kensing (2-0, 2 S, 1.70 ERA) were all selected. They’ll represent the Rainiers at the game on July 16, in Durham, North Carolina.
After the big sixth inning, Pries and the Rainiers bullpen held up their end of the deal. Abraham Almonte’s solo home run in the eighth pushed Tacoma’s lead to 5-1.
“Once we got through the first two innings, we got through a few jams and my confidence grew and so did the team’s,” Pries said. “It worked out for us tonight.”
Tacoma travels to Fresno to kick off a three-game series Friday with the Fresno Grizzlies. The Rainiers will start right-hander Andrew Carraway (3-4, 4.88 ERA) against southpaw Edwin Escobar (3-7, 5.00 ERA). The game can be heard on 850-AM.