Four batters connecting on four consecutive two-out hits doomed the Tacoma Rainiers on the first day of their biennial road trip to Tennessee.
After being shut out for 6 2/3 innings, the Memphis Redbirds rallied and held on for a 3-1 win over the Rainiers in the opener of a four-game series.
Tacoma starter Jarrett Grube was pressed into action after spending one day in the big leagues — and not pitching in the Seattle Mariners’ win over Detroit on Wednesday.
Odds are, Grube would have been pretty good against the Tigers. He certainly was against Memphis, carrying a two-hit shutout into the seventh inning.
Staked to a 1-0 lead on Stefen Romero’s solo homer in the top of the seventh, Grube recorded two quick outs in the bottom of the inning before yielding a single to Anthony Garcia.
With Grube having thrown 101 pitches, Rainiers manager Pat Listach went to the bullpen and brought in Emilio Pagan.
Runner at first and two outs, how bad could it get?
Just bad enough, as it turned out.
Harrison Bader looped Pagan’s first pitch into shallow center for a single. Batting next, Patrick Wisdom worked a full count before hitting a line drive off the left field fence for a two-run double. Matt Williams followed with a grounder down the third-base line for another double, scoring Wisdom to make it 3-1.
Four batters, four hits, three runs.
“We’ve got to find a way to get out of that inning without them scoring and secure that win,” Listach said. “We just took the lead in the top of the seventh, and gave it right back to them.”
Tacoma could not rally in the late innings against Memphis relievers Dean Kiekhefer and Sam Tuivailala.
Earlier, missed scoring opportunities cost Tacoma — one of which was just plum bad luck.
Zach Shank and James Ramsey opened the third inning with singles against Memphis starter Arturo Reyes, putting runners at first and third. Reyes let loose a wild pitch, and Shank broke for home — only to see the ball ricochet off the backstop and bounce right back to the catcher at home plate, who tagged out Shank.
“There’s only five inches of concrete back there and the ball hit the concrete and bounced right back to the catcher,” Listach said. “I still told Shank he’s got to be able to read it and get back.”
Reyes, who is from Warden in Eastern Washington and pitched at Gonzaga, allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings for Memphis.
Reliever Forrest Snow was added back onto Tacoma’s active roster while the team awaits the fate of outfielder Daniel Robertson, who was designated for assignment by the Mariners before the game. … Taijuan Walker’s scheduled Friday start was pushed back one day.
Walker (0-0, 4.15 ERA), a right-hander, starts against Memphis right-hander Deck McGuire (6-9, 5.55) at 4:35 p.m. (PDT) Saturday. The game can be heard on 850-AM.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers.