On a drizzly Sunday at Cheney Stadium, Jabari Blash was the difference for the Tacoma Rainiers as they won their second consecutive game against the Fresno Grizzlies, 12-5.
Blash was the hero for the Rainiers on Saturday with a towering walk-off home run in the ninth inning after reliever Edgar Olmos lost a two-run lead in the top of the inning.
On Sunday, Blash delivered another moonshot, this one in the sixth inning. With the score tied at 5, Blash stepped to the plate with Patrick Kivlehan on base following a walk. Blash jumped on the first pitch he saw and Tacoma never again relinquished the lead.
He finished 1 for 2 with two walks and scored three times.
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Rainiers manager Pat Listach said he has been impressed with Blash since he was called up from Double-A Jackson. He said Blash was rewarded with the call-up after making the Double-A All-Star Game, and had simply needed the at-bats in Jackson that he couldn’t get while buried on the depth chart in Tacoma.
Trailing 3-0, the Rainiers started racking up runs in the fourth inning Sunday. With two outs, Justin Ruggiano reached base on a scorching double. He then scored on Kivlehan’s single.
A Blash walk put a second runner on base for Carlos Rivero, who smashed a home run to left-center field. That gave the Rainiers a 4-3 lead and turned the tide.
Tacoma tacked on another run in the fifth inning. With Ketel Marte at second following a fielder’s choice and a stolen base, Jesus Montero hit a ground ball that squeaked past Fresno’s infield. Marte scored easily.
The Rainiers went 6 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Tacoma poured it on with 11 hits and scored in four innings.
“That’s the kind of win I like,” Listach said. “You put up 12 runs — that’s a fun day.”
Jordan Pries delivered an average start for the Rainiers. As has been the trend recently, he found trouble early, giving up two runs in the first inning and another in the third. He lasted six innings, allowing nine hits and five runs, four of which were earned. He walked two and struck out three, with a hit batter.
Tacoma’s Steve Baron was a menace at the plate Sunday. He went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. … Mayckol Guiape and Andrew Kittredge protected Tacoma’s sizable lead with scoreless innings against Fresno. Kittredge gave up a walk and two hits, but struck out three.
Monday is the last game of the Rainiers’ 12-game homestand. It’s an 11:35 a.m. start and will feature Tacoma left-hander Roenis Elias (3-0, 6.14 ERA) against Fresno right-hander Brady Rodgers (8-5, 4.26 ERA).