It took more than 10 innings for the Tacoma Rainiers to score a run against the Salt Lake Bees on Thursday night.
And when they finally did, they scored three.
After losing 2-0 in the first game of Thursday’s Pacific Coast League doubleheader at Cheney Stadium, the Rainiers used a three-run fourth inning in game two — powered by Patrick Kivlehan’s two-run home run over the left field fence — to propel themselves to a 4-0 victory and earn a split before an announced crowd of 3,003.
Because the doubleheader was scheduled in order to make up Wednesday’s postponement, both games lasted seven innings.
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Tacoma (15-20) couldn’t score against Salt Lake starter Adam Wilk in game one, and game two starter Zach Stewart blanked the Rainiers through three innings before reliever Steven Hensley took over in the fourth.
Rainiers shortstop Ketel Marte began that inning by drawing a walk, and moved to second base when Hensley balked. Jesus Montero drove him in with a one-out RBI single, and two batters later, Kivlehan belted a drive that just cleared the fence in left field.
Stefen Romero added a solo homer with one out in the sixth.
“You don’t see a whole lot of home runs in this ballpark this time of season,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said. “So we get one from Romero and we get one from Kivlehan, that’s pretty good.”
Former UW pitcher Andrew Kittredge earned the win for Tacoma after throwing four scoreless innings and allowing only three hits. The right-handed reliever, starting due to the doubleheader, worked out of a two-on, nobody-out jam in the fourth to preserve the shutout, and Listach praised Kittredge’s ability to get through four innings without further depleting the Rainiers’ bullpen.
“If he goes only two or three, then our bullpen’s really taxed for the next couple days,” Listach said. “But he stepped up and went four.”
The Rainiers were done in by a pair of solo home runs in the first game — one by third baseman Josh Rutledge to lead off the third inning against Tacoma starter and UW alum Forrest Snow, and another by left fielder Roger Kieschnick off Snow with two outs in the fourth.
Listach said Snow experienced tightness in his lower back throughout the game, and he was removed after initially heading to the mound to pitch the fifth.
“We knew going in he was tight,” Listach said. “We just kept an eye on him and monitored him. He still did a great job to give us four, not feeling 100 percent.”
Meanwhile, Tacoma managed just three singles and three walks against Wilk, who struck out five in six innings to earn the win. The only Rainier to advance past first base in the first game was Marte, who led off the first inning with a bunt single, moved to second on a groundout and stole third.
Montero went 3 for 5 in the two games with an RBI, a run and his second stolen base of the season.
Tacoma finishes its four-game series against the Bees with a 7:05 p.m. game Friday at Cheney Stadium. Left-hander Mike Montgomery (3-2, 3.19 ERA) is slated to start for the Rainiers, with right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-1, 4.20) scheduled to pitch for the Bees.
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