Backup catchers can be anonymous figures on Triple-A teams, but the Tacoma Rainiers learned the name of Albuquerque’s on Monday night.
Isotopes catcher Justin Garneau threw out three would-be base stealers and homered twice — including the walk-off shot in the 10th inning as Albuquerque topped Tacoma, 4-3.
The 27-year-old Garneau had just 148 at-bats for Colorado Springs last year, although Monday was his third start of 2015.
He homered in the eighth inning to cut Albuquerque’s deficit to one run, and he led off the 10th inning with a shot to left-center off Rainiers reliever Forrest Snow, ending the game.
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It was a tough loss for Tacoma (2-3), which let a late lead get away for the first time this season.
Behind a tremendous pitching performance from starter Mike Montgomery, Tacoma took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
Montgomery lasted six innings in his Tacoma debut, giving up one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out three, and induced two double-play grounders.
Tacoma scored twice in the second inning, getting run-scoring singles from Shawn O’Malley and Chris Taylor. Taylor added another RBI single in the eighth, making it 3-1.
The Rainiers brought in Mayckol Guaipe to protect the lead in the bottom of the eighth, but Garneau homered to start the inning. Then with two outs and a runner on second, Kyle Parker blooped a soft single to right to tie the game. Parker was protecting the zone with two strikes.
“Guaipe didn’t make that bad of pitches,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said. “We thought he had Garneau struck out on a check swing. The guy (Parker) threw his bat at that last one, and got a base hit to right.”
Guaipe pitched a perfect ninth inning and the game went into extras, before Garneau ended it with his drive off Snow.
Prior to the game, reliever Dominic Leone was recalled by Seattle. He has not yet been replaced on Tacoma’s roster. ... Outfielder James Jones did not play. He’s day-to-day with a sore shoulder after colliding with the outfield fence in El Paso on Sunday. ... The rehabilitating Taylor played seven innings at shortstop and went 2 for 3 with a walk, but he was caught stealing twice. He’s expected to be the designated hitter on Tuesday.
Tacoma starts right-hander Jordan Pries (0-1, 13.50 ERA) against Albuquerque left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (0-0, 2.25) at 5:35 p.m. (PDT) Tuesday. De La Rosa is a member of the Colorado Rockies starting rotation on a rehab assignment (strained groin).