Sports

Rainiers drop fourth straight after rain shortens Sunday afternoon’s game

That’s one the Rainiers just needed to get over with.

Sunday afternoon’s 5  ½ inning affair at Cheney Stadium was waved off after a combined one hour, 24 minutes in rain delays — including a 26-minute delay before Cody Martin threw the first pitch.

Tacoma was in a five-run hole when the game was finally called, and suffered a 10-5 loss, dropping its record to 10-7.

“You’re going to have games like this, especially the first month in Tacoma,” said Rainiers shortstop Chris Taylor. “You just have to grind through them, and forget it and move on.

“Losing in five is always tough, but it’s just one of those things that’s part of the game and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

Maybe the break for rain will do the Rainiers some good. They’ve lost four in a row — their longest slump of the season so far.

Martin (3-1, 7.58 ERA) absorbed his first loss of the season after struggling early. He lasted 2  1/3 innings, allowing nine runs on eight hits while walking four. He threw 83 pitches.

Sacramento’s Chris Stratton (2-2, 7.59) threw 84 pitches in five innings and picked up the win. The River Cats improved to 7-11.

Rainiers manager Pat Listach said early trouble on the mound has been the primary cause for Tacoma’s skid.

“We’ve got to make the other team a little more uncomfortable at the plate — they’re way too comfortable,” Listach said. “We’ve got to change eye levels, we’ve got to pitch inside, we’ve got to establish outside down and away, we’ve got to establish up and in, and we haven’t done that this week at all.”

Sacramento scored three runs apiece in the first three innings. Mac Williamson finished 3 for 3 with seven RBIs. His single to left in the top of the second scored two, giving the River Cats a 6-4 lead.

“Any time you keep your defense out there on the field for a long time, it’s hard for them to come back and get a rhythm at the plate,” Listach said. “They kept our defense out there for a long time the first three innings of the game.”

In fact, the first three innings lasted nearly an hour and a half.

Tacoma put up four runs in the top of the first and led 4-3 to start the second. Rob Brantly drove in two runs on a double to left. He finished 2 for 3 with the two RBIs.

Taylor extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games with a two-out double in the bottom of the fourth.

“A lot of it’s just been mental,” Taylor said. “A lot of the work I put in in the offseason is finally starting to show up.”

Taylor scored Tacoma’s final run, crossing on a Stefen Romero single.

But the rain again took over in the top of the sixth, the tarps were brought out, and players and fans waited out a 58-minute delay before the field was deemed too soft and unplayable.

“Today was a factor of all the rain we had yesterday, the rain we had this morning, the rain during the game,” Listach said. “I don’t want to jeopardize anybody’s future.”

SHORT HOPS

Taylor’s 14-game hitting streak is the longest active streak in the Pacific Coast League this season. ... Romero has a 10-game hitting streak— his two-out single in the fourth was his only hit of the game and Tacoma’s final hit. … Romero has the highest batting average in the PCL at .410. Mike Zunino is second at .407. … Williamson’s seven RBIs were one short of Sacramento’s record. The PCL’s (modern) record for RBIs in a single game is 11, set by Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas in 2010 when he played for Omaha.

ON TAP

Tacoma LHP James Paxton (1-2, 5.84) will face Sacramento LHP Matt Lujan (0-2, 4.85) at 6:05 p.m. Monday at Cheney.. The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.

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