Conditions were ripe for home runs Saturday night in the suburbs of Austin. It was hot and humid, and there was a stiff Texas wind blowing out to left field at the Dell Diamond.
Tacoma and Round Rock combined to hit eight home runs, and it was the Rainiers who emerged with an 8-7 victory. It was the fourth win in a row for Tacoma, which moved to a season-best six games over .500.
Stefen Romero enjoyed the conditions the most. Serving as Tacoma’s designated hitter on the travel day, Romero went 3-for-3 with a double, two homers, three runs batted in, and four runs scored.
Romero said the hitting conditions reminded him of another stop in Texas: the Ballpark In Arlington, where the Rangers play.
“It’s kind of similar,” Romero said. “In Arlington it’s more right field, but this park it’s to left-center.”
Romero hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Round Rock starter Luke Jackson to tie the game, 3-3.
“First one I got jammed a little bit, I hit it pretty well,” said Romero. “We didn’t have batting practice so I didn’t know how the ball was jumping.”
His next home run came in the seventh, against left-handed reliever Jimmy Reyes.
“The second one, I thought I popped it up —I hit and I was like, ‘dang it.’” Romero said. “I started running and saw the left fielder sprinting back.”
The second home run came on the tail-end of back-to-back homers with Ji-Man Choi, who hit his first home run since April 11 moments earlier.
Erasmo Ramirez (4-5) made a strong start for Tacoma, pitching seven innings and allowing three runs. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk, leaving with an 8-3 lead.
Round Rock’s Brett Nicholas and Chris Gimenez (a former Mariner) hit consecutive homers against Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom in the eighth inning, and Todd Coffey allowed a solo blast to Jason Donald in the ninth before getting the final three outs.
Romero is batting .411 (23-for-56) with seven homers and 18 RBI in 13 games since being optioned to Tacoma by Seattle. … When Xavier Avery stole second base Friday night, he became the first Tacoma Rainiers player to reach 30 steals in a season since Chad Meyers stole 37 bases in 2003.
The series continues with a 4:05 p.m. (PDT) game Sunday. Tacoma starts left-hander James Gillheeney (3-9, 6.30 ERA) against Round Rock right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla (3-1, 4.34).