LAS VEGAS - The home team wore camouflage uniforms for Memorial Day, but the design couldn't hide another poor display of defense by the Las Vegas 51s in their third Pacific Coast League loss in a row Monday to the Tacoma Rainiers.
The PCL leader in errors, with 64 in 52 games, Las Vegas made three errors in the last two innings, allowing Tacoma to score four unearned runs en route to a 7-4 victory at Cashman Field.
The Rainiers (24-24) won three of the four games in Las Vegas.
“It’s always good to come on the road and win a series,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. “We had a chance to win the first night, then we swung the bats pretty well in the middle two games. Today we really caught some breaks and took advantage of some mistakes late.”
Held in check by 51s starter Brad Mills through seven innings, the Rainiers trailed, 3-1, when they cashed in on Las Vegas’ shoddy defense.
Ezequiel Carrera reached base on an error by third baseman Brian Dopirak, who bobbled a ground ball before throwing wide of first base. Tommy Everidge singled and Greg Halman drew a one-out walk to load the bases for Matt Mangini, who tagged a three-run triple down the left-field line to give Tacoma a 4-3 lead.
A fielding error by Rainiers shortstop Chris Woodward let the 51s (21-31) tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. He bobbled a bases-loaded grounder by Luis Figueroa, allowing Raul Chavez to score. But Woodward snared a liner by Chris Aguila to end the threat.
The Rainiers regained the lead in the ninth when Jeffrey Dominguez led off with an unusual triple. He hit a high chopper to first that took a hard right and darted past 51s first baseman Brett Wallace.
“We got a couple breaks there in the top of the ninth,” Brown said. “You don’t see too many triples to lead off the inning like that one bouncing around off the dirt.”
Woodward followed with a high chopper that bounced over Dopirak into left field for an RBI double to give Tacoma a 5-4 edge.
Woodward, who took third on a sacrifice bunt by Carrera, scored on a throwing error by 51s shortstop Jonathan Diaz to make it 6-4. Diaz fielded the ground ball from Everidge cleanly and looked Woodward back to third before making a bad throw to first.
The Rainiers took a 7-4 lead on a fielding error by Diaz .
Tacoma starter David Pauley allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings, with two walks and four strikeouts.
Chad Cordero struck out the side in the ninth for his sixth save.
Mills took a no-hitter into the fifth before giving up a one-out homer to Mangini, who finished with four RBI.
Tacoma’s trip continues with a four-game stop in Sacramento. The opener tonight at 7:05 will feature a duel between left-handed starting pitchers: Luke French (5-2, 1.76 ERA) for the Rainiers against the River Cats’ John Halama (1-0, 0.00), who threw a perfect game for the Rainiers in 2001.