EL PASO, Texas — Apparently deciding that a day-night doubleheader wasn’t enough baseball for one day, the Tacoma Rainiers and El Paso Chihuahuas turned the second game into a marathon extra-innings affair.
After losing the opener, 7-6, Tacoma took the nightcap in 13 innings, 15-12. The second game lasted 5 hours, 21 minutes and ended at 12:26 a.m. local time.
The Game 2 victory was a wild back-and-forth affair that saw both teams blow sizeable leads.
Down 5-2 after five innings, Tacoma rallied to score five runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh to grab a 10-6 lead.
Xavier Avery homered twice in the second game, including a go-ahead, two-run blast in the sixth inning.
El Paso rallied to score four runs in the eighth, tying the game at 10. Each team scored two runs in the 10th inning, and the Rainiers finally won it with a three-run rally in the top of the 13th.
Chris Taylor’s two-run single with the bases loaded in the top of the 13th snapped the 12-12 tie and proved to be the game winner.
The first game saw Tacoma trail 6-1 after six innings, then put together a big comeback to tie the game, only to lose in the ninth.
Nick Franklin tripled and scored on a Gabriel Noriega groundout in the seventh. Taylor, Corey Hart, Justin Smoak and Ji-Man Choi opened the eighth inning with consecutive hits, resulting in three runs to make it 6-5.
With one out in the top of the ninth, Avery launched a home run to right field, tying the game.
The tie was short lived. Alex Castellanos greeted reliever Todd Coffey with a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth. He was sacrificed to third base, then scored the winning run on Jeff Francouer’s ball single between short and third.
Coffey (3-1) earned the decision in both games of the doubleheader, taking the loss in the opener and getting the win in Game 2.
The last day/night split doubleheader played by Tacoma was on May 2, 2002, at Fresno. Tacoma swept that one. … Rehabilitating Mariners outfielder Hart (1-for-5, RBI double) and Justin Smoak (1-for-4, single) each played in only the first game.
The final game of 2014 between Tacoma and El Paso will be played at 5:05 p.m. Sunday. Tacoma starts James Gillheeney (3-6, 5.80) against El Paso’s Juan Oramas (4-3, 5.96).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.