Tacoma manager Pat Listach said all his team needs a good start each game from his pitcher — and it would almost always secure a win with its strong bullpen.
On Monday night, starter James Gillheeney did not give the Rainiers that quality outing against Las Vegas.
The left-hander, in five innings, allowed seven runs — five earned — and seven hits in a 7-2 loss to the 51s in front of 3,531 at Cashman Field.
Gillheeney (1-3) struck out six and walked two, throwing 102 pitches.
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“That was one of our worst-played games,” Listach said. “We hadn’t played like that in months. Our situational hitting wasn’t good. We had a high pitch count. We didn’t play a good baseball game tonight.”
Patrick Kivlehan’s 3-for-3 night with a solo home run and two RBIs led Tacoma (53-57).
“Every at-bat counts. That’s what we try to preach to these guys,” Listach said. “We don’t take at-bats off and (Kivlehan) didn’t.”
Stefen Romero had two hits and scored a run against Dillon Gee (6-1), who went the distance.
But the Rainiers played from behind from the start. Gillheeney’s first pitch of the game to Dilson Herrera was sent over the left-field wall. Las Vegas (61-49) scored two in each of the first and second innings.
After Tacoma got a run back in the fourth inning on an infield single by Kivlehan scoring Romero, the 51s added three runs in the bottom half. Tacoma second baseman Shawn O’Malley committed two errors on one play in that inning, misplaying a ground ball and then throwing it away when he tried to get Herrera at the plate.
“We made two errors on one play,” Litsach said. “We hit into three double plays. Just one of those days.”
Meanwhile, Gee (6-1), who has made seven starts with the New York Mets earlier this season, went the distance allowing two runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
Seven Rainiers batters in the lineup had at least one hit.
The Tacoma bullpen was strong again as Logan Bawcom and Edgar Olmos combined for three scoreless innings.
In the final of this four-game set, Tacoma RHP Chien-Ming Wang (1-2, 6.55 ERA) will take on Las Vegas LHP Darin Gorski (8-8, 5.02) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The game can be heard on 850-AM.