RENO - The Rainiers' staff ace couldn't beat the Reno Aces on Saturday night.
Tacoma starter Luke French entered the game leading the Pacific Coast League in wins and earned-run average, and he kept Reno scoreless while Tacoma built an early 3-0 lead.
But the Aces got to the ace for one run in the fourth, tied it on Jeff Bailey’s homer in the fifth, then took the lead with two more runs in the sixth inning on the way to a 6-3 win over the Rainiers at Aces Ballpark.
Yunesky Sanchez tripled in the go-ahead run with one out in the sixth – one of three triples off French. Ed Rogers had a two-out, pinch-hit RBI single to score Sanchez and make it 5-3, sending French to the showers.
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French (10-3) saw his ERA rise from 2.69 to 2.97 in the loss.
Tacoma manager Daren Brown was more concerned about the Rainiers’ offense. He knows that three runs is rarely enough to win in hitter-friendly Aces Ballpark, and his team missed a number of scoring opportunities.
“We had an early 3-0 lead and it should have been 6-0,” said Brown. “We didn’t do a good job of situational hitting – getting guys in from third base with less than two outs. We had it happen three times in the first four innings, and we didn’t score.”
Dustin Ackley had his first multiple-hit game as a member of the Rainiers, driving opposite-field doubles in each of his first two at-bats.
“They were trying to stay away from him, and he did a nice job driving the ball to the left side,” Brown said.
Ackley had an opportunity to tie the game with a single when he batted with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh inning, but veteran Reno reliever T.J. Beam got Ackley to pop up a two-strike breaking ball for the final out.
Mike Sweeney went 3-for-5 in the first game of an injury rehabilitation assignment. The Mariners’ designated hitter is on the disabled list with back spasms; he hit two singles and a double Saturday. Brown said that he expects Sweeney to be with the team for at least a couple days.
Matt Torra (6-6) earned the win for Reno, pitching into the seventh inning after allowing three early runs.
Mike Wilson went 0-for-4, ending his team-best hitting streak at 12 games. ... Greg Halman went 15 straight plate appearances without striking out before Torra got him swinging in the sixth.
The series concludes with a 5:05 game today. Tacoma’s Michael Pineda (2-0, 4.43 ERA) takes the mound against Reno’s Wes Roemer (1-4, 6.67). It will be Pineda’s first start since he allowed six runs in the fourth inning against Fresno on July 9