What a difference one night can make.
After being thoroughly outplayed the previous evening, the Tacoma Rainiers flipped the script and dominated the Reno Aces, 8-3, on Thursday night at Cheney Stadium.
One night after the Rainiers mustered only two hits against the Aces, their bats came alive Thursday. Reno’s starter Justin Marks was chased after only two innings.
Tacoma’s big inning came in the third. Ramon Flores, a newcomer to the Mariners organization, hit his first home run in a Rainiers uniform to lead off the inning. The Venezuelan entered the game hitting .421 with three RBIs in his first six games with the club.
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Chris Taylor, Stefen Romero and Justin Ruggiano all followed the solo blast by safely reaching base. With the bases loaded, Patrick Kivlehan and John Hicks drew walks to score two more runs. Jabari Blash and Carlos Rivero capped off the inning’s scoring with a couple of RBIs, giving Tacoma a hefty five-run lead.
Rainiers manager Pat Listach was pleased with the offense this time around.
“Everybody was tired yesterday,” he said. “Today was just a good day. We had a good day to come out with a full batting practice and do some early work. We had a full hitters’ meeting with plenty of time for it.”
The Rainiers also picked up an early run in the first inning off a single by Ruggiano. They tacked on runs in the sixth and seventh as well.
That gave plenty of run support for starter Jordan Pries. Pries was in control of a potent Aces lineup, one that leads the PCL in home runs and left the yard four times the previous evening.
Pries threw 62/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out one.
“That’s the Pries I’ve been expecting to see the whole season,” Listach said. “We’ve seen glimpses of him with the injuries he’s had. It looks like he’s healthy now and that’s the guy who won ten games in this league last year.”
Pries now sports a 7-3 record, putting him in a four-way tie for the team lead in wins this season.
The convincing win showcased the Rainiers’ penchant for dusting themselves off after tough losses. Following last night’s shutout, Tacoma scored a bevy of runs. They are now 4-0 this season following a shutout loss and 8-1 since 2014.
Justin Ruggiano has now reached base safely in 32 of 35 games he has played with Tacoma this season. He entered Thursday with a .315 batting average and this was his 14th multi-hit game… Chris Taylor has now safely reached base in 12 consecutive games… Jabari Blash smashed his 9th home run of the season with the Rainiers on a mammoth-shot that nearly hit the scoreboard in left-center field.
Game three of the five-game slate against Reno continues on Friday night with left-hander Roenis Elias (3-1, 7.89 ERA) getting the nod for Tacoma. The Aces will trot out righty Caleb Clay (7-7, 5.00 ERA). First pitch from Cheney Stadium is 7:05 p.m.