Sometimes, it just isn’t in the cards.
That was certainly the case for the Tacoma Rainiers on Wednesday night, as they managed just three hits in a 7-0 Pacific Coast League loss to the Reno Aces at Cheney Stadium.
Played before 3,294 fans, it was the Rainiers’ second straight loss and their third shutout loss of the season.
Tacoma couldn’t put anything together offensively, languishing under the dominant right arm of Aces starting pitcher Trevor Cahill (1-1), who is a six-year major league veteran and a 2010 All-Star with Oakland.
“He’s a big-league pitcher that had pretty good control with all of his pitches, and that’s hard on a hitter,” Howell said. “You’ve got to tip your hat to him.”
It took until the fifth inning for the Rainiers to even manage a hit, when Stefen Romero hit a single to right. Ty Kelly drew a walk in the next at-bat, but Jesus Sucre grounded into a double play to leave the Rainiers empty.
It was the only time Tacoma (39-46) came close to scoring.
The Aces, meanwhile, had no trouble pushing runs across. Tacoma started right-hander Matt Palmer, and the 35-year-old struggled. He gave up all seven runs on eight hits and only lasted five innings.
“He just got the ball up and got behind in the first couple innings,” Howell said. “He pitched to contact pretty well, but they took advantage of it and hit the ball all over the ballpark.”
Palmer (1-6, 4.76 ERA) threw well the last time he faced the Aces, in May. He went five shutout innings and allowed three hits, and picked up his only win of the season.
The Aces scored three times in the third inning. Speedy Tony Campana smacked a stand-up triple to center that scored Ronny Cedeño, who had singled. Campana then scored on a sacrifice fly, and Alfredo Marte followed with a solo homer to put Reno up 3-0.
A two-run double to left by Cedeño in the fourth, a solo homer from Danny Dorn in the fifth, and Campana’s RBI single to left in the sixth pushed the lead to 7-0.
“We didn’t make good adjustments at the plate and Cahill just kept pounding the zone with good pitches, that we couldn’t hit,” Howell said. “That kind of night happens sometimes.”
The Rainiers wrap up their series with the Aces at 7:05 tonight. Tacoma sends right-hander Jordan Pries (4-5, 3.11 ERA) against the Aces righty Charles Brewer (3-5, 7.28). The game can be heard on 850-AM.