For Zach Lee’s second straight start, the outing went completely sour in the fourth inning. Only this time things got uglier in a hurry..
In the inning, Lee gave up seven hits and seven runs, including a three-run homer, and the Rainiers went on to lose to the Sacramento River Cats, 10-2, on Sunday at Cheney Stadium.
Over five innings total, Lee (0-5, 5.50 ERA) gave up 11 hits, eight runs (seven earned) and two walks while striking out three.
“That one inning obviously killed us,” Lee said. “Kind of got the ball up a little bit, didn’t really have my great stuff today. … Unfortunately tonight I didn’t do a great job of limiting damage when damage occurred, and kind of let that inning get too out of hand.
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“I probably need to step off a little bit more. Regain, get things reset and go back in the zone.”
Lee’s rough inning mirrored his last start on Aug. 2.
“It’s hard to give up seven runs on 24 pitches,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said, “but we found a way to make it happen. We made three errors as well; it didn’t help out our pitching a whole lot. They squared some balls up as well, but we did, too. I can count eight balls that we hit on the screws right at people.”
In earning the win, Sacramento’s Chris Stratton (9-5, 4.69 ERA) allowed seven hits, including a homer, and two earned runs while recording two strikeouts over six innings..
Sacramento scored first to go up 1-0 in the third inning. After a double by Ramiro Pena, Lee threw a wild pitch, resulting in Pena reaching third. On the next pitch, Federal Way native Travis Ishikawa hit a line-drive single past second baseman Daniel Robertson’s outstretched glove into right field, scoring Pena.
The River Cats pounced all over Lee in the fourth.
Sacramento’s Jarrett Parker reached first on an error, then Miguel Olivo followed with a double. Lee then gave up two singles and a double consecutively, as the River Cats took a five-run lead. The next batter, Ramiro Pena, uncorked a three-run homer to stretch Tacoma’s deficit to 8-0.
“He’s (Lee) just got to figure out a way to get through the inning without making it a big inning,” Listach said. “He’s got to minimize the damage, and he wasn’t able to do it today, or last start either.”
Down in a big hole, Tacoma’s bats didn’t get going until the fifth. Ketel Marte, who played seven innings at shortstop on a rehab assignment, hit an RBI single to left field, scoring James Ramsey.
Stefen Romero sent a solo homer into Tacoma’s bullpen in the sixth.
The deficit widened in the seventh.
Sacramento’s Myles Shroder reached first on a fielding error by third baseman Zach Shank. Relief pitcher Paul Fry then gave up a single to put runners on first and second. Ramsey beelined to a Grant Green fly ball in right field, but missed it, which allowed Shroder to score. Two batters later, Ali Castillo hit an RBI single to put Sacramento up 10-2.
With Romero’s sixth inning solo shot, the Rainiers have hit home runs in seven consecutive games — a season high. … Romero started at first base in place of D.J. Peterson, who missed the past two games with an illness. Listach didn’t speculate on a timetable for Peterson’s return, but designated hitter Dan Vogelbach, who played first base Saturday, likely will return to the position Monday. … Ambidextrous relief pitcher Pat Venditte joined the Rainiers after a late arrival Sunday. Venditte was acquired by the Mariners in a trade with Toronto for a player to be named later.
Tacoma takes on Sacramento in the second game of the four-game series at 7:05 p.m. Monday. Rainiers right-hander Sam Gaviglio (1-0, 2.84 ERA) is set to face River Cats righty Joan Gregorio (3-6, 5.89). The game can be heard on 850-AM.