It’s unclear whether the New Orleans Zephyrs beat Tacoma on Tuesday night, or if fatigue is what actually did in the Rainiers.
After travelling the longest possible distance in the Pacific Coast League, the Rainiers carried a lead into the seventh inning stretch only to lose late in a 5-4 loss.
Tacoma players had alarms set for 3 a.m. in order to make it to SeaTac for their flight to New Orleans — a flight which had a stopover in Las Vegas. The team arrived at their French Quarter hotel at 4 p.m. — just in time to check in and head to the ballpark.
Despite taking no batting practice and barely having time to eat, Tacoma took a 2-0 lead into the stretch.
“We got off to a good start, we battled to get runs tonight,” Tacoma manager Roy Howell said. “We lost it late when we left some pitches out over the plate and they got hit. They didn’t miss ‘em.”
Starting pitcher Andrew Carraway delivered 52/3 scoreless innings. Working on just two days rest after a long relief outing Saturday, Carraway gave up three singles and a walk before being lifted after throwing 86 pitches.
Tacoma scored twice in the top of the third inning, when Ji-Man Choi reached on an error and Leury Bonilla laid down a bunt single. With one out, new shortstop Ketel Marte drove an opposite-field two-run double off the base of the right field fence for a 2-0 lead.
That was all Tacoma would get against Miami Marlins No. 1-ranked prospect Andrew Heaney. The left-hander was sharp for seven innings, striking out seven and walking two.
New Orleans rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh against Rainiers reliever Logan Kensing, who had a rare off night.
Stefen Romero’s two-out RBI triple tied the game in the top of the eighth, and Tacoma summoned Blake Beavan to pitch the bottom of the inning.
Beavan recorded two quick outs before allowing back-to-back homers to Justin Boar and Mark Canha, making it 5-3.
Tacoma scored a run and had runners at first and third with one out in the ninth, but Zephyrs reliever Chaz Roe got pinch-hitter Julio Morban to bounce into a game-ending around-the-horn double play.
Jesus Montero was named the PCL Player of the Month for July. He hit .375 with eight homers and 33 RBI in 27 July games, with 12 multiple-hit performances. ... Olympia’s Adam Conley, who was born in Redmond and went to Washington State, is on the New Orleans disabled list with elbow soreness. The left-hander is 3-5 with a 6.00 ERA in 11 starts for the Zephyrs.
Left-hander Roenis Elias makes his Triple-A debut for Tacoma at 5 p.m. Wednesayd in New Orleans The Zephyrs are scheduled to start Brian Flynn (7-8, 4.00).