The simple fact that the Tacoma Rainiers were able to play baseball on Thursday was a minor victory. So maybe it helps ease the sting of the Rainiers' two losses to Oklahoma City - 2-1 in the conclusion of a suspended game and 6-2 in the nightcap.
With rain and gloomy weather drenching the Puget Sound area, the Rainiers and the Redhawks got in the first game of the four-game series on Monday. Tuesday’s scheduled game was rained out and rescheduled for a doubleheader Wednesday. The two teams played all of five innings Wednesday before rain intervened.
So on Thursday with skies still threatening, the two teams were able to salvage some baseball, although the Rainiers didn’t play at their best.
Tacoma was held hitless in the final three innings of the suspended game, then committed two costly errors that sparked a five-run fifth inning in the second.
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“We had a tough homestand with the weather,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown said. “But we went 5-2, and we’ll take that.”
Tacoma (21-23) went into the fifth inning of the second game leading 2-0 thanks to a pair of RBI singles – one from Guillermo Quiroz in the second inning and the other from Mike Carp in the third.
The two runs seemed like a good beginning of run support for the Rainiers’ Luke French, who has been one of Tacoma’s most consistent starters this season.
The left-hander cruised through four innings, allowing just two hits. But things fell apart in the fifth – with a little help from the Rainiers’ defense.
French gave up a leadoff single to Chad Tracy and a double to Mitch Moreland. They would score on Kevin Richardson’s soft single to center. Those runs were on French.
But Quiroz would give up a passed ball on the next batter before a sacrifice bunt put Richardson at third.
French seemed to have worked himself out of trouble . He got Craig Gentry to hit a comebacker to the mound that left Richardson, who was running on contact, an easy out at home. French tossed the ball to Quiroz for a certain out, only it hit off Quiroz’s glove allowing the run to score. Instead of a 2-2 game with a runner on first and two outs, it was 3-2 with a runner on first with one out.
“That’s a play we expect to make,” Brown said. “It’s pretty much playing catch.”
French then walked the next hitter and allowed a double steal to put runners on second and third. French was able to get Esteban German to fly out to right. But Greg Halman’s throw to cut-off man Tommy Everidge went about 25 feet before bouncing. One run scored, then Everidge tried to get the runner advancing to third but threw it in the dirt. It got by third baseman Matt Mangini allowing another run to score.
“That all kind of started with the poor throw by Hal-man,” Brown said.
Three of the five runs were unearned in the inning.
French took the loss, pitching five innings, allowing five runs (only two earned), while walking one and striking out two.
Veteran Doug Mathis picked up the win for the Redhawks, pitching five innings, allowing two runs on eight hits.
Carp led the way for the Rainiers with three hits and an RBI.
Redhawks 2, Rainers 1 (7 innings): The two teams started Thursday night by completing the suspended game from Wednesday. The game was suspended because of rain after the bottom of the fourth inning, tied at 1-1.
So perhaps it was fitting that as soon as they re-started the game, rain started falling in Cheney Stadium.
Tacoma reliever Garrett Olson (2-5) wasn’t quite as sharp as he’s been in past performances. He worked out of a serious jam in the bottom of the fifth inning, but gave up a leadoff homer from Brandon Boggs that just barely cleared the left field wall.
That run was all the Red-hawks would need. Hard-throwing prospect Tanner Scheppers shut down the Rainiers for the three innings, not allowing a hit and striking out seven of the 10 batters he faced.
The Rainiers open up an eight-game road trip, starting in Las Vegas today. Right-hander Steven Shell (3-1, 2.28 ERA) gets the start for the Rainiers, while the 51s will send right-hander Rey Gonzalez (4-3, 8.81). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 850-AM and www.tacomarainiers.com
Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 firstname.lastname@example.org, blog.thenewstribune.com /mariners