Reliever Danny Farquhar was sent to the Tacoma Rainiers after failing to recapture his 2014 form with the Seattle Mariners.
He’s still looking for it.
Farquhar was unable to preserve a 2-2 tie in the top of the ninth Friday and the Rainiers fell to a late rally for the second time in three nights, this time a 4-2 loss to the El Paso Chihuahuas.
Tacoma manager Pat Listach said Farquhar did not have command of his pitches.
“He was behind just about every hitter,” Listach said. “You can’t pitch like that up here. You have to get ahead of hitters and expand the zone.”
The damage could have been worse, if not for questionable base running by El Paso’s Jason Hagerty. Chris Taylor booted a grounder and Hagerty rounded third, but a strong throw gunned him down at home for the inning’s final out.
A ninth inning rally of their own looked to be in the works for Tacoma. John Hicks and Stefen Romero safely reached base with only one out. After a groundout by Taylor, James Jones walked and loaded the bases. Jesus Montero stepped to the plate looking for the walkoff, but couldn’t deliver. He fell behind 0-2 and struck out.
The Rainiers’ stalwarts on offense failed to deliver in crucial moments. Taylor was 0 for 5, continuing a cold streak on this homestand. Taylor is 2 for 18 in his last four games.
Montero is also cold since returning to Cheney Stadium. He was 0 for 5 against the Chihuahuas and is 3 for 18 in his last four games.
“He’s swinging at bad pitches,” Listach said. “He’s got to recognize good pitches. He’s getting himself out.”
Jones put the Rainiers in position to win before the ninth-inning meltdown, breaking the game open in the seventh. With Tacoma trailing 1-0, Leon Landry reached base on an error and Hicks followed with a base hit. Jones stepped to the plate with two outs and smoked a line drive just out of the reach of a diving Jake Goebbert. Jones’ triple scored two runs and gave the Rainiers the lead.
Jones has reached base in every game since returning to Tacoma.
Besides allowing a solo home run to Hagerty, Jordan Pries delivered 51/3 strong innings. He gave up four hits, struck out four, walked one and allowed only the single run. Listach said Pries was outstanding coming off an injury.
The four-game series with El Paso continues on Saturday as Tacoma right-hander Stephen Landazuri (0-3, 8.74 ERA) takes on lefty Robbie Erlin (5-4, 5.40). First pitch is at 5:05 p.m. and can be heard on 850-AM.