Tuesday started and ended slowly for the Tacoma Rainiers. Air traffic held up their trip home from Salt Lake City. An umpire equipment delay pushed first pitch back to 7:40 p.m.
And the Rainiers’ bats stalled as they dropped a 6-0 shutout to El Paso in the opener of a five-game series at Cheney Stadium.
“You can say it’s jet lag or whatever you want to call it, but you still have to come out and put up a better showing than we did tonight,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said. “We’ve been playing really good baseball. Those things happen every once in a while.”
Tacoma (59-43) falls into a tie with Oklahoma City at the top of the Pacific Coast League North with the loss.
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Rainiers starter Jarrett Grube’s (1-2, 4.46 ERA) slip in the second was enough to dig Tacoma into a hole. Diego Goris launched a two-run blast deep to left to highlight a four-run inning for the Chihuahuas. They tacked on two more runs in the eighth.
“One bad inning — (Grube) gave up four runs with two outs,” Listach said. “I think he lost a little focus there after the ball fell into left field on the pitch to Goris and gave up those four. But, he put up five zeros on top of that.”
Grube — who tossed 47 of his 96 pitches in the second — put away 12 straight batters in his final four innings.
Opposite him, Carlos Pimentel (10-5, 5.68) allowed only one hit in six innings while striking out four. Michael Dimock tossed another three scoreless innings in relief.
DJ Peterson stroked a single to right in the second inning, and Daniel Robertson beat out a grounder to short in the ninth to record Tacoma’s only hits. Only six batters reached base.
“We really didn’t have a threat today,” Listach said. “They pitched us the same way, every batter, the same way. We just really didn’t make adjustments.”
In his first home appearance with Tacoma, Dan Vogelbach went 0 for 3. He is 6 for 18 (.319) with two home runs and four RBIs since being acquired from Iowa (Chicago Cubs affiliate) on July 22. … Former Rainiers outfielder Jabari Blash went 0 for 4 in his first appearance at Cheney since leaving the club during the offseason. He struck out in all four at-bats. Last year with Tacoma, Blash struck out 63 times in 56 games.
The Rainiers host El Paso again in the second game of the five-game series at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. Tacoma right-hander Joe Wieland (8-5, 6.07) is slated to start against El Paso righty Daniel McCutchen (9-6, 5.78). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.