The Rainiers six-game win streak came to an end on Saturday night at Isotopes Park, but at least Tacoma went down swinging.
Trailing 6-1 going into the ninth inning, the Rainiers scored two runs and loaded the bases before Boog Powell grounded out to end the game, sealing a 6-3 Albuquerque win in front of a crowd of 12,269.
“We made it interesting at the end,” said Tacoma manager Pat Listach. “The streak had to end, but we’re playing good baseball.”
The win streak was Tacoma’s longest since a seven-game streak in June 2014.
Albuquerque starter Shane Carle and reliever Sam Moll get credit for stopping the Rainiers offense.
Facing the Rainiers for his third time this season — having allowed 16 runs over 10 innings to Tacoma in his first two starts — Carle was in command on Saturday. The right-hander limited Tacoma to four hits and one run over six innings, earning his third win of the season.
“Their guy (Carle) was better tonight than the last two times we saw him,” said Listach. “He had two good breaking balls working.”
Moll pitched perfect relief in the seventh and eighth innings, striking out three.
Tacoma starter Adrian Sampson (3-2) was touched for five runs in six innings. Most of the damage was done by Isotopes catcher Tom Murphy.
Playing in his second game of the season after being sidelined by a strained left oblique, Murphy hit an opposite-field two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning.
Then, with Albuquerque leading 2-1 in the sixth, Murphy’s two-out, two-run double to left field opened up the Isotopes’ lead.
“Sampson pitched pretty well,” said Listach. “He gave up three leadoff doubles, and got out of two of them. He had good stuff. They got three runs in the sixth with two outs.”
Tacoma’s ninth-inning rally came against reliever Jason Gurka. Singles by Efren Navarro and Stefen Romero started the inning, and a one-out error loaded the bases. Ed Lucas grounded out to score a run and make it 6-2, but there were two outs.
Consecutive singles by Shawn O’Malley and Daniel Robertson scored another run and loaded the bases for Powell, who grounded to first on a 2-2 pitch.
Mike Zunino did not homer at Isotopes Park for the first time this season. He went deep in each of his first five games in the stadium, hitting six total homers. … Tacoma starters posted a 1.19 ERA during the six-game win streak, and the bullpen allowed one run in 16 1/3 innings pitched.
On Sunday at 12:35 p.m. (Pacific), Tacoma starts Donn Roach (2-2, 8.22 ERA) against Albuquerque’s Ryan Carpenter (2-2, 4.34).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers