Guys with experience as Seattle Mariners came up big for the Tacoma Rainiers on Monday, powering a come-from-behind 5-4 win over the El Paso Chihuahuas at Cheney Stadium.
Jesus Montero smashed a three-run home run. Franklin Gutierrez came into the game with a .385 batting average and increased it. Chris Taylor homered, extending his hitting streak to seven games, and got the final out with a diving stop.
“They’re professionals; they’re big leaguers,” manager Pat Listach said. “You can only have a 25-man roster in Seattle, so they’ve got to play somewhere. So they’re down here trying to work their way back. The last play of the game is a big league play: It’s a big league, Major League play, and I told him that when he came off the field. That’s what big-leaguers do right there: They make plays like that to win games.”
Another former Mariner — starting pitcher Roenis Elias — got the win, although it wasn’t smooth sailing.
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“He had pretty good stuff, to be honest,” Listach said. “When he made a mistake they made him pay. His pitch count went really high and we had to get him out of there. He was already at 90 pitches in five innings. … We scored the runs right after that, so that was good for him.”
El Paso (7-5) jumped ahead with early power. Shortstop Mike McCoy led off the third with a home run to left center. Then in the fourth, Austin Hedges, Cody Decker and Ramrio Pena launched consecutive doubles — to right, left and center respectively — to increase the Chihuahuas’ lead to 3-0.
Tacoma (4-8) got one back in the bottom of the fourth, before El Paso added another in the top of the fifth.
But that led to the Rainiers’ decisive half-inning, which included home runs by Taylor and Montero and put Tacoma ahead for the first time. Relievers Logan Bawcom and Mayckol Guaipe made it stand up, right through to that final out from Taylor.
“That’s what you live for out there is making a big play in the ninth inning or a big situation,” Taylor said. “That’s why you work every day, really work, take balls. It felt good to be able to finish the game in that fashion.”
The result ended a three-game losing streak, all against the Chihuahuas and spanning the Rainiers’ first three home games.
“It was good to finally win a game at home, obviously,” Listach said. “We’ve played some close games and come up short. Very, very big hit by Montero. The three-run homer was huge. We’ve been playing pretty good baseball, to be honest.”
The Albuquerque Isoptopes arrive at Cheney Stadium to begin a four-game series starting at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday. Probable starting pitchers are Albuquerque left-hander John Lannan (0-0, 0.69) and Rainiers righty Sam Gaviglio (1-0, 0.82). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.