The Tacoma Rainiers were hoping a four-game series at high-elevation Smith’s Ballpark would help end their offensive woes.
It hasn’t happened yet.
Tacoma scored one run over the first eight innings on Wednesday night before taking a 7-3 loss at the hands of the Salt Lake Bees, continuing a trend of poor offensive showings.
The Rainiers have scored 22 runs over their last eight games, for an average of 2.75 runs per game — a figure that isn’t going to lead to many wins in the offense-oriented Pacific Coast League. The Rainiers have gone 2-6 during the eight-game stretch.
“We had a lot of hits, but we didn’t get the big hit,” said Tacoma manager Pat Listach, whose Rainiers had 12 hits in the game.
There were two bright spots in the lineup on Wednesday: Chris Taylor and Efren Navarro each had strong games at the plate.
Taylor went 5 for 5, with five singles and two runs batted in, for his first career five-hit game. It was the first five-hit game by a Tacoma player since August 7, 2015, when outfielder Ramon Flores had five hits against Reno at Cheney Stadium.
Navarro singled, tripled, and walked as he continued to hit well in his return to Salt Lake City. The former Bees first baseman is 5 for 8 over the last two games.
Listach was more concerned about non-hitting problems after the game.
“The last two innings on Tuesday night, and the first three innings tonight, were not fundamentally sound,” Listach said. “We had two double plays we didn’t turn tonight, we had a pickoff throw for an error, we made two errors on the same play. We’re still in the game if those things don’t happen.”
Cody Martin (5-4) started for Tacoma and took the loss. He allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning, then three more runs in the fourth when Salt Lake hit three doubles. A two-run double by rehabbing Angels outfielder Daniel Nava was the big hit, giving the Bees a 4-0 lead.
Salt Lake added on three more runs in the sixth inning to take a 7-1 lead.
Tacoma had a roster move prior to the game. Left-hander Jake Brentz was sent to Everett, where he will join the starting rotation. Brentz appeared in two games, allowing four runs in 1 2/3 innings. Taking his place is left-hander Kyle Hunter, up from Double-A Jackson. Hunter went 2-0, 2.61 in 11 games for Jackson. Hunter pitched 3 1/3 innings in his Triple-A debut on Wednesday, allowing three runs.
The series ends with a day game on Thursday, at 11:05 (Pacific). Tacoma starts Brad Mills (2-1, 3.68) against Salt Lake’s Kyle McGowin (3-2, 5.12).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers