The Tacoma Rainiers hit five home runs Thursday en route to a 12-5 victory against the Nashville Sounds at Cheney Stadium.
Shawn O’Malley and Patrick Kivlehan each hit a pair, while Stefen Romero added the final blast.
The teams traded runs early on, before Tacoma took command in the fifth inning. Romero and Kivlehan went back-to-back leading off the fifth, and Leury Bonilla added a run-scoring single later in the inning for a 7-4 lead.
“He (Kivlehan) has been making some adjustments the past couple of weeks,” Listach said. “He’s been having way more consistent at-bats.”
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Forrest Snow took advantage on the mound, allowing four runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings to earn the victory. It was his 10th of the season, making him the first Rainiers pitcher to reach double digits in victories since Luke French (11) and Chris Seddon (10) each did in 2010.
The Rainiers continued to pour it on offensively in the latter innings, as Jabari Blash scored on a double play in the seventh, and then Tacoma went back to the long ball in the eighth. O’Malley hit his second home run of the game, a solo blast to right center field. After Romero walked, Kivlehan hit his second, also to right center. After a walk and two singles scored the 12th run, Nashville was forced to use right-fielder Ryan Roberts on the mound.
Sounds starter Brad Mills was scratched just before gametime, forcing Nashville to use its bullpen. The Sounds had six pitchers on the night, none lasting more than two innings. Brock Huntzinger (4-4) took the loss, allowing three runs in relief of Dan Otero.
Nashville jumped ahead 1-0 in the first, but the Rainiers responded in the second against Otero.
Ji-Man Choi doubled, Bonilla hit an RBI single and after Patrick Brady singled, O’Malley homered to right center to give Tacoma a 4-1 lead.
“He’s been tearing it up since his hand has gotten healthy,” said Rainiers manager Pat Listach of the Richland native. “He put the barrel square on the ball twice.”
Nashville tied it with three in the fourth, but the Sounds didn’t score again until the ninth inning when the game was out of reach.
Tacoma’s bullpen was solid, as Logan Bawcom and J.C. Ramirez combined to allow one run on five hits with no walks and two strikeouts in four innings.
The two home run game was the first of O’Malley’s career. ... Choi is now hitting .500 with the Rainiers after going 3 for 4 ... Kivlehan extended his hitting streak to eight games with his 2 for 5 night.
The Rainiers will square off against the Sounds again at 7:05 p.m. Friday. The Rainiers will start lefty James Paxton (0-1, 13.50 ERA) in his second rehabilation start, while the Sounds will start right-hander Nathan Long (3-4, 5.17 ERA).