The Tacoma Rainiers can’t get out of Omaha fast enough.
The two-time defending Pacific Coast League champion Omaha Storm Chasers stunned the Rainiers with a ninth-inning rally before winning, 6-5, in the 10th on Thursday. Lane Adams singled up the middle with one out in the 10th, driving home Orlando Calixte with the winning run.
Omaha won three out of four in the series, getting two of those wins on late comebacks.
Thursday’s game was particularly frustrating. Tacoma built a 5-1 lead by scoring four runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by a two-run triple by Shawn O’Malley.
Starting pitcher Justin Germano worked an efficient game. He lasted eight innings, giving up three runs — all on solo home runs.
“You hate to waste the gem that Germano gave us, going eight innings, saving the bullpen and putting us in a position to win the game,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said.
Tacoma missed opportunities to add runs. Pat Kivlehan hit a one-out double in the sixth inning but was stranded at third base. O’Malley hit another triple to lead off the seventh, but he was doubled off on a lineout by Ketel Marte.
As a result, the lead was just 5-3 going to the bottom of the ninth when Tony Zych relieved Germano.
The hard-throwing right hander struck out the leadoff man, but Brett Eibner followed with a homer on an 0-2 pitch to make it 5-4.
“Zych came in and blew away the first guy, and he had two strikes on the next guy,” said Listach. “But then he started leaving some pitches up.”
Casey Kotchman doubled to left, and after a groundout, Francisco Pena doubled to right to tie the game.
In the 10th, Ketel Marte and Jesus Montero singled to give Tacoma runners at first and third with no outs, but Omaha reliever Brian Broderick induced three weak groundouts to escaped without allowing a run.
Zych (0-1) took the mound again in the bottom of the 10th and allowed a double to Calixte. Rey Fuentes sacrificed him to third base, and Adams singled through the drawn-in infield to end it.
“You expect to win these types of games 99 percent of the time, and I guess this was one of those days,” said Listach.
Marte went 3-for-4 and he leads the Pacific Coast League with 65 hits. The last Tacoma player to lead the PCL in hits was Jeremy Reed, who had 169 hits in 2007 … Adams’ winning hit was the first single of the game for Omaha. The Storm Chasers’ first nine hits were doubles or homers.
The Rainiers return home and start a four-game series against Round Rock at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Tacoma is scheduled to start Sam Gaviglio (3-4, 5.63) ERA against Round Rock’s Jerad Eickhoff (4-2, 5.15). Round Rock is the Texas Rangers affiliate.