The Tacoma Rainiers hit three home runs and benefitted from another great pitching performance by Mike Montgomery to end a three-game losing streak Saturday night.
Jesus Montero, Stefen Romero, and John Hicks each homered to support Montgomery, who lasted eight innings in the Rainiers 8-3 win over the Fresno Grizzlies.
“The story of the day was Mike Montgomery,” said Tacoma manager Past Listach. “We put some runs on the board, and he put it in shut-down mode.”
Montero lined a solo shot to the left of the batter’s eye in center field, giving the Rainiers a 1-0 lead.
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Romero then launched a long two-run homer to left field in the third inning, his fifth of the season.
With two runners on in the top of the fifth, Hicks blasted a high-arcing shot to left-center which gave Tacoma an 8-1 lead.
“It was a slider that stayed up a bit,” said Hicks. “I thought that it was going to go out.”
The home runs provided more than Montgomery needed. The left-hander pitched the longest game of any Rainiers starter this season, allowing three runs over eight innings and throwing 112 pitches.
“He always attacks with his fastball and gets ahead in the count,” said Hicks, who caught the first two innings before being moved to first base to replace Montero, who was ejected.
Montero fouled a ball off his foot in his second at bat. It rolled to the third baseman, who threw to first. Home plate umpire Travis Eggert did not see it hit Montero’s foot, calling it a fair ball and ruling Montero out. Eggert threw out Montero moments into the argument.
Montgomery (3-2) was working on a four-hitter and had retired 10 consecutive batters when Fresno connected for three hits in a row and scored two runs with two outs in the eighth.
Dominic Leone set down all three batters he faced in the ninth inning to finish the game. It was Leone’s first appearance for Tacoma since being optioned by Seattle on Thursday.
Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez left Friday’s game in the sixth inning with a cramped hamstring. He’s day-to-day. ... Ketel Marte extended his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games with three hits. He leads the PCL with 44 hits. ... James Jones went 1-for-5 and now has a 14-game hitting streak.
Fresno will start Jake Buchanan (2-1, 5.88) in Sunday’s game which starts at 2:05 p.m. Tacoma’s starter will be announced prior to the game.