Most of the Pacific Coast League has not been able to figure out the Pacific Northern division-leading Tacoma Rainiers.
The Las Vegas 51s are not part of that cast.
Trailing 3-0 early, the 51s rallied for a 4-3 victory Saturday night as the two teams opened a four-game series at Cheney Stadium.
Las Vegas is now 9-4 against the Rainiers this season.
Brandon Nimmo’s RBI double in the right-center gap scored Matt Reynolds to give the 51s a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning.
The Rainiers had a chance to nail Reynolds at home plate as second baseman Daniel Robertson’s throw came in well ahead of the runner, but home-plate umpire Junior Valentine ruled that catcher Jesus Sucre was too late turning around to get the tag on the runner.
By the time Mariners rehabbing starter James Paxton (elbow) exited after three scoreless innings (two hits allowed, three strikeouts in 53 pitches and touched 98 mph on his fastball), the Rainiers were well on their way to a 3-0 lead.
D.J. Peterson hit his eighth home run in a Tacoma uniform with a solo shot off Tyler Pill to lead off the second inning.
And an inning later, Dan Vogelbach rifled an opposite-field shot to left for another home run.
Ryan Strausborger gave Tacoma a 3-0 lead when he scored on Vogelbach’s RBI single to left field in the fourth inning.
But Las Vegas tied it at 3-3 with three runs in the fifth — on Reynolds’ run-scoring groundout to shortstop, Nimmo’s RBI triple to right center and Gavin Cecchini’s run-scoring double to center field off Sam Gaviglio.
Demoted Mariners’ first baseman Dae-Ho Lee arrived at Cheney Stadium shortly after noon — seven hours before first pitch. He batted cleanup, and had two hard hits in his first at-bats — a double to the warning track in left center in the first inning, and a single that knocked Cecchini over at shortstop in the third inning. … Voglebach went 3-for-5, and has hit .500 during his recent four-game hitting streak. … Right-hander Marvin Gorgas arrived to the Rainiers on Saturday from Single-A Everett. He had been with Tacoma previously on Aug. 3, pitching 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief against El Paso. … The roundup of college-themed games continued on Saturday with “PLU Night” celebrated at Cheney Stadium.
The Rainiers will play the second game of their four-game series with the 51s on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. Right-hander Joe Wieland (11-5, 5.38 ERA) goes for Tacoma, while left-hander Sean Gilmartin (9-6, 4.80) pitches for Las Vegas.