For almost four innings, usually reliable Tacoma Rainiers pitcher Adrian Sampson kept the Las Vegas 51s’ offense in check.
But with two outs in the fourth, Las Vegas pushed two runs across. Then they knocked Sampson out in the fifth with a six-run outburst to lift the 51s to a 13-2 victory over the Rainiers at a hot and sunny Cashman Field.
It was a difficult day — and series — for the Rainiers. Tacoma pitchers gave up 19 hits Tuesday and dropped three of four games to the 51s.
In that fifth inning the first five Las Vegas batters all had hits and scored, including No. 9 hitter Marc Krauss with a two-run homer. The homer also brought in Gavin Cecchini, who led off with a double.
Sampson (6-4) lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing 11 hits and seven runs (all earned) while striking out just two on 68 pitches in his 12th start this season. In his previous two outings, he had allowed one run and 10 hits in 13 innings.
Sampson was saved in the second inning on a diving stab by third baseman Zach Shank, who started a 5-4-3 double play to end the frame.
“(Sampson) has been consistent, but today, it was one of those days where he didn’t have his stuff,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said. “He started off pretty good. But it’s a tough place to pitch in day games.”
Tacoma’s Mike Zunino hit a solo homer to left in the fourth inning with one out, giving the Rainiers (34-24) a 1-0 lead.
Chris Taylor extended his hit streak to eight for the Rainiers. Taylor had a single to right in the sixth inning.
In the Las Vegas series, Taylor was 7 for 17, while Shank was 8 for 12.
“Taylor and Shank both had good weekends here. It’s a good place to hit,” Listach said. “Good things happen when you put the ball into play, especially here.”
But that was about all the Rainiers could do against Las Vegas starting pitcher Gabriel Ynoa (7-1), who was spectacular in his 12th start of the season — seven-plus innings, six allowed hits, two runs and three strikeouts on 104 pitches. Ynoa lowered his ERA to 2.82.
The Rainiers scored a run in the eighth and loaded the bases with two outs, but Dario Pizzano struck out to end any last threat.
Tacoma relievers Jonathan Aro and Joe Wieland both struggled. Aro lasted two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on three hits. Wieland gave up five runs, including a three-run homer to Brandon Nimmo in the eighth.
Tacoma is 2-6 against Las Vegas (31-27) this season, but the final eight games between the teams are at Cheney Stadium, with two four-game sets starting June 30 and August 20.
The Rainiers are off Wednesday. They begin a four-game series at Cheney Stadium on Thursday against Reno. The Rainiers will start Donn Roach (4-3, 4.60 ERA), while the Aces will start righty Matt Buschmann (1-5, 6.57).