A rare pitcher’s duel in the high elevation of Salt Lake City ended with a blast on Saturday night.
Stefen Romero snapped a 1-1 tie with a three-run home run in the top of the 11th inning, giving the Tacoma Rainiers a 4-1 win over the Salt Lake Bees.
It was the second consecutive win for the first-place Rainiers, who matched a season high by reaching 15 games over the .500 mark. Tacoma is 57-42 on the year.
Romero’s shot came after Daniel Robertson hit a two-out double and Ryan Strausborger was hit by a pitch. Facing Bees reliever Mike Morin (0-1), Romero worked a full count before pulling a deep drive down the line in left field.
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It was the 14th home run of the season for Romero, who hit two homers in the series opener Friday.
Romero’s homer ended a run of terrific pitching by both clubs.
Tacoma starter Zach Lee had his best start as a member of the Rainiers. In his sixth outing since being acquired from the Dodgers for Chris Taylor on June 19, Lee lasted seven innings and gave up one earned run. He allowed only two hits — one of them a solo homer to Sherman Johnson in the sixth inning.
Salt Lake’s Chris Jones just about matched Lee’s output, going six innings and also allowing one run. Guillermo Heredia singled home Tyler Smith with two outs in the sixth inning to put the Rainiers on the board.
Tacoma’s Donn Roach (6-5) earned the win with stellar relief.
Entering the game with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Roach fell behind in the count to Ryan Jackson, 3-1, and was in danger of walking in the winning run. But Jackson swung at the 3-1 pitch and grounded out to third baseman Zach Shank, who started an around-the-horn double play to send the game into extra innings.
Roach pitched a scoreless bottom of the tenth inning, and Blake Parker worked the bottom of the 11th to earn his 16th save of the season.
Former Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan and reliever Lucas Luetge are both with Salt Lake. Ryan is batting .247 in 27 games, and Luetge has posted a 5.63 ERA in 33 outings. … Eastside Catholic grad Cal Towey is batting .250 with three homers for the Bees.
Tacoma sends Sam Gaviglio (0-0, 4.50) to the mound at 6:05 p.m. (PDT) Sunday. Salt Lake’s starter had not been announced.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers.