Nine runs came home in the eighth. Six different Rainiers drove in runs. Kristopher Negron logged his fourth multi-hit outing in the past five games, going 5-for-5. Shed Long legged out an inside-the-park-grand slam.
All in all, a good game for the bats to end a day that began with a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call in Albuquerque.
“It was a tough travel day, and they always say tough travel days aren’t too bad of days to play, just because you’re so relaxed up there, you’re not trying to do too much,” Negron said. “I was just trying to see the ball and drive it.”
Negron scored the Tacoma’s first run of the game in the fourth inning, put the Rainiers ahead for good with a solo home run in the sixth, and dealt the first blow of a nine-run rally in the eighth.
The home run was an opposite-field blast on an inside-out swing on a ball low and over the middle of the plate, but it turned out to be the second-most impressive homer of the game for Tacoma. That crown went to Long.
The Rainiers had already brought in five runs in the eighth when Long came up for his second plate appearance of the inning. The 2-1 pitch came in right down the middle, and Long barreled it 425 feet high off the wall in center field. The ball bounced hard off the wall, three runners jogged home easily, and Long sprinted around for a stand-up grand slam.
“That was definitely one of the dopest moments of my career,” Long said.
Sean Nolin gave up two runs on a bases-loaded single in the fourth inning but nothing else in six innings of work. He earned the win, striking out six. Gerson Bautista, who returned to Triple-A ball with a dreadful five-run outing in Albuquerque, bounced back in the seventh inning, striking out the side with a fastball topping out at 99 mph. Darin Gillies saw the game out for his first save of the season.
Ryan Court, making his return to Tacoma after going on the injured list on May 25, went 1-for-3 with an RBI single and a pair of walks.
It’s the first time the Rainiers have put up 13 runs or more in back-to-back wins since July 7-8, 2012.
“I’m going to pass out as soon as I get home, that’s for sure,” Negron said.
Tacoma and Salt Lake will continue the five-game series at 1:35 p.m. Tyler Cloyd is scheduled to start for the Rainiers.