The Tacoma Rainiers still haven’t won a game in Reno during the current five-game series, but at least they played a better one.
After getting blown out by the Aces in three straight games, the Rainiers lost a nail-biter, 8-7, on Saturday night.
Pinch hitter Zach Borenstein hit a two-out, two-run triple in the eighth inning to snap a 6-6 tie and give Reno the lead.
Aces closer Jimmy Sherfy allowed a solo homer to Dan Vogelbach with two outs in the ninth before nailing down the save.
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With four straight wins over first-place Tacoma, second-place Reno, which trailed by 6 1/2 games, now is only 2 1/2 games back. Nine games remain in the regular season, with Tacoma facing Reno in five of them.
Tacoma’s offense got a lift from second baseman Mike Freeman, who arrived shortly before first pitch after being optioned by the Seattle Mariners. Freeman lined a run-scoring double as part of a three-run first inning, and added an RBI single in the second.
The Rainiers built a 6-2 lead after three innings.
But Freeman’s error in the fifth inning opened the door for Reno to rally. Perhaps fatigued after flying all day from Chicago, Freeman’s flip to shortstop Tyler Smith, in an attempt to get a forceout at second base with the score at 6-3, went wild and extended the inning. Three unearned runs would score after the error, with Kyle Jensen’s long, two-run double tying the game at 6-6.
Tacoma reliever Emilio Pagan pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, keeping the game tied through seven innings.
Making his second appearance for Tacoma, Al Alburquerque retired the first two batters in the eighth before Carlos Rivero singled to left. Todd Glaesman followed with a grounder to third base that somehow skipped past Zach Shank’s glove and into left field, putting two runners n. Batting for catcher Ronnie Freeman, Borenstein drove the first pitch he saw off the center field fence for what proved to be the game-winning hit.
The Rainiers allowed 13, 11, and 12 runs in the first three games of the series against Reno. It was the first time that Tacoma has allowed 10-plus runs in three straight games since June 7-9, 2007, at Colorado Springs. … Tacoma is 2-9 against Reno this season.
The Rainiers play their final road game of the regular season at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. Tacoma will start right-hander Cody Martin (9-7, 3.93 ERA) against Reno left-hander Anthony Banda (4-3, 3.64). The game can be heard on 850-AM.
Mike Curto the Tacoma Rainiers radio broadcaster.