The Tacoma Rainiers seemed destined for a loss Monday night, trailing the Las Vegas 51s by eight runs in the sixth inning. Then, their bats woke up.
Tacoma hit three homers and scored nine runs in three innings, rallying to a stunning 9-8 victory at Cheney Stadium.
“It’s a huge comeback, it’s a huge win for the team,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said. “Especially after having a bad weekend in Reno.”
Tacoma (39-36) trailed 8-0 going in the bottom of the sixth inning. But left fielder Tyler O’Neill got the Rainiers on the board with a monster home run. After a base hit by Leonys Martin, center fielder Andrew Aplin crushed a two-run homer to cut the deficit to 8-3.
Martin hit a two-run homer of his own in the seventh to make it 8-5, and the Rainiers weren’t done yet.
Tuffy Gosewisch tied the game in the eighth with a two-run double. He moved to third on a Boog Powell fly out and O’Neill drove him in with a single for the go-ahead run.
“It was great,” O’Neill said. “(Winning) run on third base late in the game, you always want to cash in but there was a lot of runs scored by other guys tonight, too. That’s on my teammates for also putting me in that position.”
Emilio Pagan struck out the Las Vegas side in the ninth to preserve the win.
Tacoma snapped a two-game losing streak after dropping three of four on the road to Reno. The Rainiers and 51s (29-48) will meet again at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday in Tacoma.