Security Service Field is one of the best hitter’s parks in minor league baseball, but in order to take advantage of the high elevation contact has to be made.
Tacoma Rainiers batters struck out 17 times in a 5-2 Pacific Coast League loss to the Sky Sox on Friday night, helping Colorado Springs pitchers set a franchise record for strikeouts in a home game.
Highlighting the night for the Sky Sox was an “immaculate inning” pitched by reliever Jaye Chapman in the eighth. He struck out the side on just nine pitches, getting Chris Taylor, Stefen Romero, and Jabari Blash on three pitches each.
Rainiers manager Pat Listach said the strikeouts came as a result of hitters chasing pitches out of the strike zone.
“Their starter (Ariel) Pena had pretty good stuff,” said Listach. “Of his 10 strikeouts, six of them came on pitches out of the zone that we chased.”
Making just his fifth start after transitioning from the bullpen, Pena struck out 10 over 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing four hits.
Tacoma scored two unearned runs in the seventh inning against reliever Brandon Kintzler, who added two strikeouts.
Chapman pitched his perfect eighth, and then struck out two more during a seven-pitch ninth inning.
“Chapman threw slider after slider after slider, and we chased it,” Listach said.
Blash and Ji-Man Choi each went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
Tacoma wasted a strong start from Tyler Olson, who carried a two-hit shutout into the seventh inning. He was lifted after the first two batters reached base, having thrown a season-high 80 pitches.
“Great game,” said Listach. “He was phenomenal. To put up that many zeroes in Colorado Springs is really good.”
Juan Centeno hit a run-scoring double off reliever Logan Bawcom to put the Sky Sox on the board, and Matt Dominguez followed with a two-run triple to give Colorado Springs a 3-2 lead. Matt Long’s sacrifice fly capped a four-run rally.
The Sky Sox added another run in the eighth when Matt Clark hit a long RBI double with two outs off reliever Lucas Luetge.
The Rainiers were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention when Fresno won late on Thursday night. Tacoma has not reached the playoffs since 2010. … After Friday’s games, Fresno’s magic number to clinch the Pacific-North title over second place Sacramento was four.
The series concludes with Saturday’s game at 6:05 (PDT). Tacoma starts Forrest Snow (8-8, 3.91 ERA) against Colorado Springs’ Zach Davies (1-0, 5.40). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.