It was a home run extravaganza.
Just not for the Rainiers, as the Las Vegas 51s battered Tacoma, 12-2, at Cheney Stadium. The 51s hit three home runs in the first three innings.
Most of the damage was done in the first inning after Rainiers starter Jordan Pries was only able to labor through a third of an inning — his shortest outing of the season — before being pulled by manager Pat Listach after giving the 51s a 5-0 lead.
Pries gave up two homers and five runs in his third start since coming off the disabled list. He also walked two batters, and after his short appearance his earned-run average ballooned from 4.64 to 5.65.
“You know what? I didn’t think his stuff was that bad,” Listach said. “I had to take him out early because he got into deep counts and because of his past injury.”
51s center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis started the onslaught by hitting a three-run shot off of Pries. Left fielder Brandon Allen piled on another two runs after hitting a home run over the right field foul pole to put the 51s up 5-0.
“I thought Nieuwenhuis put a good swing on the pitch but I thought he (Pries) had him,” Listach said. “But Nieuwenhuis was strong enough to force it out.”
And the first-inning damage wasn’t the end of the runs for the 51s.
Andrew Kittredge replaced Pries, but he didn’t have much luck either and allowed four earned runs. Las Vegas right fielder Alex Castellanos continued the home run party and hit a moonshot to left field in the third to extend the lead 7-0.
Kittredge gave up another two runs in the fourth inning and the 51s took a commanding 9-0 lead.
The Rainiers did end up scoring two runs in the sixth when third baseman Patrick Kivlehan knocked in two with a line drive down the left field line.
But the 51s didn’t let up and scored three more runs in the top of the ninth, padding their lead 11-2.
This is the second time this week that the Rainiers have allowed double digit runs. The first game was on Monday when the El Paso Chihuahuas scored 14 runs and also hit three home runs to rout the Rainiers 14-1.
The Rainiers will send righty Stephen Landazuri (1-3, 8.10 ERA) to the mound to finish up their four game series. Righty Rainy Lara (0-0, 4.50) will start for Las Vegas. First pitch is at 7:05 pm and will be broadcast on 850-AM.