Tacoma Rainiers manager Pat Listach believes that PCL could stand for something other than Pacific Coast League.
Such as the Potential Comeback League.
The Rainiers helped make their manager’s case Monday afternoon, watching a five-run lead in the eighth inning nearly disappear before hanging on for a 9-7 victory over the Fresno Grizzlies.
“You’re never out of the game in some of these ballparks,” said Listach. “Some of these ballparks are small; this one plays small in the daytime and plays fair at night. They made it close.”
Tacoma scored in six consecutive innings from the second through seventh. And with starting pitcher Jason Germano keeping the Fresno hitters in check, it appeared the Rainiers would coast to victory.
After seven innings of four-hit ball from Germano, the Rainiers brought in Dominic Leone to pitch the bottom of the eighth.
Leone walked two and allowed a single to load the bases with one out, and Fresno’s Jon Singleton laced an opposite-field grand slam to the left field corner. Suddenly, it was 7-6.
“You can’t give up free passes, and that’s what happened to Dominic,” Listach said.
That meant that Tacoma needed some insurance runs in the ninth, and they got two of them after James Jones led off with a double and Ketel Marte followed with a walk. Jesus Montero singled home Jones, and a sacrifice fly by Leon Landy scored Marte.
The insurance runs were needed, because Fresno’s Luis Flores homered in the ninth off Yoervis Medina with one out. Medina retired the next two batters to earn his first Triple-A save.
Considering how many runs scored when the game’s other six pitchers were on the mound, Germano’s outing looks even more impressive. He gave up two runs on four hits and one walk over seven innings, earning the win to improve to 2-1.
“He had command of everything,” Listach said. “He knows what he’s doing. He’s crafty, he throws strikes, and he doesn’t get himself into too many trouble situations.”
Tacoma’s offensive attack was potent all game. Stefen Romero and Montero twice hit back-to-back doubles, and each finished with three hits. Jones and Marte each scored two runs.
Even No. 9 hitter and utilityman Leury Bonilla had a big game. Making a start in left field, Bonilla lined a solo home run in the fourth inning and added a run-scoring double in the sixth.
The win gave Tacoma a split of the four-game series in Fresno and a 4-4 record on the eight-game road trip. Tacoma opens an eight-game homestand on Tuesday.
Pitcher Trey Cochran-Gill was transferred back to Single-A Bakersfield, leaving the Rainiers with a 24-man active roster. … Romero has hit 10 of his last 18 PCL home runs against Fresno. He homered in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday.
The Rainiers return home to Cheney Stadium to open an eight-game homestand with a game against Salt Lake on Tuesday at 6:05. Tacoma starts Sam Gaviglio (2-3, 5.83 ERA) against Salt Lake’s Andrew Heaney (4-0, 4.15).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.