Consider that bad luck streak turned around for Sam Gaviglio.
Gaviglio entered the game sporting a 0-3 record with a 3.66 ERA for the Rainiers (13-8), but after some run support, he earned his first victory in Tacoma’s 7-4 win over the Sacramento River Cats (7-15).
“Our pitching was good, (Gaviglio) was not as crisp as he usually is but he put himself in a position to win the game,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said. “He got out of that jam with runners on first and third early on. … Every inning it seemed like they had base runners but he battled through it.”
And despite being outhit by Sacramento 11-10, Tacoma’s bats woke up in the early innings as three Rainiers hit their first home runs of the season.
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Tyler Smith launched a solo shot on the second pitch he faced, and Dario Pizzano hit a three-run homer four batters later in the first inning. Mike Freeman followed with a two-run homer in the second.
“Considering the weather, we don’t hit a lot of home runs in April,” Listach said. “But once the weather heats up and we go down to Las Vegas and other places, the power numbers will increase.”
After the first two innings, the bats fell silent for the Rainiers, who were unable to get a hit until the fifth inning when when D.J. Peterson put the ball through the gap between shortstop and second base.
The Rainiers would add a run in the eighth inning when Zach Shank singled in Peterson for an insurance run.
“You hate for the bats to go silent for that long,” Listach said. “It turned into a pretty good ball game, but a win is a win and you have to credit them for battling back.”
After Gaviglio was pulled with one out in the sixth inning, relievers Ryne Harper, Evan Marshall and Emilio Pagan combined to go 3 2/3 innings, only allowing two hits — including a solo home run — and striking out seven.x
PLAY OF THE GAME: Right-handed reliever Harper pitched Tacoma out of a jam after replacing Gaviglio with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the sixth inning. Harper was able to get back-to-back strikeouts of Juan Ciriaco and Wynton Bernard on four pitches apiece to prevent any further damage.
PLUS: Mike Freeman had a good day at the plate, going 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and a home run, which improved his batting average from .360 to .379.
MINUS: After the second inning, the Rainiers didn’t record a hit until a D.J. Peterson single in the fifth inning. Tacoma’s offense fell quiet again until the ninth.
STAT PACK: Tyler Smith, Dario Pizzano and Mike Freeman came into the game with a combined 107 at-bats through 20 games for the Rainiers without hitting a home run. Each of them hit their first homer of the season within the first two innings.
QUOTABLE: “It’s been a revolving door this month. The most important thing is the big league team, we’re here for them. Obviously, they have Dan Vogelbach up there, (Boog) Powell’s up there, they have Ben Gamel up there, they all started the season here. That’s what we’re here for. We make do with what we have. That’s why it’s called player development. When they need them, they call us. We’ve had a number players up already. ... It’s been a busy month to say the least.” — Listach on flow of talent between Tacoma and Seattle.
ON TAP: The Rainiers will play game four of their five-game series against Sacramento on Sunday with first-pitch at 1:35 p.m. Right-hander Chris Heston (1-0, 3.18 ERA) will start for the Rainiers against the River Cats’ Tyler Beede (1-0, 4.29). The game can be heard on 850-AM.
Jordan Whitford: firstname.lastname@example.org