Missed scoring opportunities and a defensive miscue cost the Tacoma Rainiers in a 2-1 loss to the New Orleans Zephyrs on Sunday afternoon.
Tacoma was unable to make New Orleans starter Jarred Cosart pay when he was wild early, nor were the Rainiers able to hurt him when he was tiring at the end of his time on the mound.
The lack of runs — one in six innings against Cosart, despite 10 base runners — resulted in a wasted pitching performance by Tacoma’s Donn Roach.
“That wasn’t our best offensive game,” said Rainiers manager Pat Listach. “We had opportunities to drive in runs all game and didn’t get the big hit.”
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Cosart opened by walking Daniel Robertson, and Chris Taylor followed with a single. Efren Navarro was next, and he hit a line drive right to shortstop Robert Andino — who dropped the ball. Since the runners were holding on their bases, Andino was able to pick up the ball and easily start a double play, and the scoring opportunity fizzled.
Cosart walked back-to-back batters with one out in the second inning, but was able to escape the jam.
Trailing 1-0, it looked like the Rainiers were going to strike for a big inning in the sixth.
Navarro led off with a double to the right field corner, and a Mike Zunino walk and Mike Baxter single loaded the bases.
Rob Brantly flied out to center, but it was too shallow to score a run. Dario Pizzano singled to left-center, bringing home Navarro to tie it, and keeping the bases loaded with one out.
On his final pitch, Cosart got Tyler Smith to ground into an inning-ending double play.
In many regards, Roach outpitched Cosart — but he took the loss. Roach allowed four hits over seven innings, yielding two runs (one earned). He had four strikeouts.
A two-out double in the third inning by Kenny Wilson scored Adrian Nieto from first base when Tacoma center fielder Boog Powell briefly lost control of the ball before throwing it back to the infield.
Roach’s only walk came with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, when he missed with a full-count curveball to Wilson. Wilson stole second base and scored the go-ahead run on Don Kelly’s line-drive single to right.
“That was a game I felt like we should have won,” said Listach. “Especially with the way Roach pitched.”
Listach said Joe Wieland will skip his scheduled Monday start after leaving Wednesday’s game with tricep soreness. Wieland is expected to take his next turn, which would fall on Saturday in Las Vegas. Cody Martin will make a spot start Monday.
The road trip concludes with an 11 a.m. (Pacific) Monday game. Tacoma will start RHP Martin (5-3, 5.65 ERA) while New Orleans is scheduled to start RHP Paul Clemens (4-4, 5.05).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.