Monday was a getaway day for the Round Rock Express, and the Tacoma Rainiers sent the Texans on their way feeling pretty good.
The Rainiers woke to an early alarm, were greeted by a rainy morning with tarp on the field — and then things got worse.
Tacoma gave up two runs in the first inning and then watched shortstop Leury Bonilla pitch the ninth, finally closing out a 14-3 Pacific Coast League loss before a school-kid packed crowd of 5,513 at Cheney Stadium.
After taking the first three games of the series, the Rainiers were going for their first sweep of the season. But that suspense didn’t last long as they fell behind by 10 runs in the fourth inning, all with Stephen Landazuri (0-2) on the mound.
“The starting pitcher has to execute the pitches better,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said. “We can’t dig a hole that deep and expect the offense to bounce back, especially in a ballpark where it’s basically a pitcher’s ballpark.”
Tacoma’s offense was held in check by Round Rock starting pitcher Anthony Ranaudo (5-1), who went six innings.
Ranaudo and Rainiers right fielder Leo Landry had been teammates at Louisiana State University from 2008-2010, including LSU’s 2009 College World Series championship. Landry flied out three times facing Ranaudo for the first time as professionals.
“His stuff still looks good,” Landry said. “He was spotting the ball well and kind of had us off balance a little bit.”
Patrick Kivlehan had a two-run homer for Tacoma, and Franklin Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to nine games.
The players had reported at around 8:30 a.m. for a game that started at 11:30. There also was a 3:45 curfew in place so the Express (31-19) could catch an evening flight out. The game ended about an hour before that.
“The morning start is tough,” Landry said. “I have to be honest with that, especially being so accustomed to playing later in the day, and getting a little rest, and being able to get some practice in before the game is starting and getting our bodies ready to go. With these morning games, it’s kind of like roll out of bed and hit the field.”
Tacoma used four pitchers, concluding Bonilla, who moved from shortstop for his second mound appearance of the season.
In the fifth inning, infielder Jhombeyker Morales made his Tacoma debut. He had arrived Monday morning from extended spring training. He signed with the Mariners organization in 2012 as a nondrafted free agent and spent the past three seasons with the Dominican and Venezuelan summer leagues. Pitcher James Gillheeney was moved to Class AA Jackson.
After the game it was announced that pitcher Mayckol Guaipe was promoted to Seattle, while infielder Chris Taylor was optioned back to Tacoma.
The Rainiers (22-30) continue their homestand with a four-game series against the New Orleans Zephyrs starting at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday. Tacoma right-hander Danny Farquhar (0-0, 16.20 ERA) is scheduled to go against New Orleans left-hander Justin Nicolino (4-1, 2.05). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.