Whatever it is the Reno Aces have, the Tacoma Rainiers want none of it.
Reno won, 2-1, in 11 innings on Friday night, thanks to Zach Borenstein’s no-doubt homer over the right field wall at Cheney Stadium, continuing a dominance over Tacoma this season.
Tacoma, though, does have one thing over Reno. The Pacific Coast League’s North Division title, which the Rainiers claimed on Thursday. But head-to-head bragging rights belong to the second-place team, which upped its record to 10-3 against Tacoma.
“We don’t have to worry about them anymore,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said. “They’ve played really good against us, whether it’s winning 13-10 in Reno or beating us 2-1 here.”
It was the second Rainiers game in a row that went to extra innings. Tacoma played a 14-inning marathon against Fresno on Thursday, winning 2-1 on a drizzly night. The celebration of the team’s title, the first since 2010, made for an even longer night and shorter turnaround.
Rainiers starter Cody Martin, though, pitched six shutout innings and stifled Reno’s attack. He gave up four hits, walked none, and struck out eight.
“I really wanted to establish the strike zone and get ahead,” Martin said. “They’ve got pretty good thump in their lineup.
“The pace was a little slow at first, but I just wanted to go out and keep our momentum going, hopefully all the way into the playoffs.”
Mike Baxter gave Tacoma a 1-0 lead in the fifth with his first hit since coming off the disabled list. Zach Shank led off the inning with a single and scored on Baxter’s liner into left-center field.
Baxter, who suffered a fractured left wrist on June 19 after being hit by a pitch, returned to the team Tuesday. He had been 0 for 8 until his double.
Reno tied it in the eighth. Pinch hitter Mitch Haniger rocketed the first pitch from Rainiers reliever David Rollins into the left field corner for a double. Haniger moved to third on a bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Hermann.
It stayed that way until the 11th. Rainiers reliever Emilio Pagain struck out the leadoff hitter before running into Borenstein.
“Pagan’s been one of our better relievers this year, but he made one mistake and they hit it out,” Listach said. “But our bats have to do better and get going. One run isn’t enough.”
ABOUT THURSDAY NIGHT
On Thursday, the Rainiers won the game but not before playing almost five hours in almost constant showers to do it.
Ryan Strausborger ended the four-hour, 59-minute affair at Cheney Stadium when he singled home James Ramsey in the 14th inning.
It was the longest game of the season, in terms of innings and time, for both Tacoma and Fresno. The Rainiers set a season-high for men left on base, stranding 20. The teams combined to throw 522 pitches, strike out 31 batters and walk 20.
The Rainiers bullpen threw eight scoreless innings after Fresno scored its run in the seventh. The winner was Paul Fry, who threw four scoreless innings.
PLAYOFFS? YES PLAYOFFS
The Rainiers begin the PCL playoffs against the El Paso Chihuahuas on Wednesday. Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-five series will be played in El Paso. Game 3 is on Friday, Sept. 9, at Cheney Stadium, and Games 4 and 5, if necessary, are in Tacoma on Sept. 10 and 11.
Tickets are available at the Cheney Stadium box office, at www.tacomarainiers.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
The Rainiers host the Aces at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Right-hander Zach Lee (7-13, 5.94 ERA) is Tacoma’s scheduled starting pitcher. Reno’s starter is to be decided. The game can be heard on 850-AM.