With momentum on the Tacoma Rainiers' side after ending their homestand by winning six of eight games, they hope to continue the trend on the road.
After Tacoma’s 8-4 win over Albuquerque on Friday night, the Rainiers travel to Reno for a four-game Pacific Coast League series starting tonight at 7.
They’ve had solid stretches of hitting and pitching in their past few outings.
Of course, the last time the Rainiers went on the road, they endured a miserable trip, dropping all eight games in the Midwest.
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“Offensively, we picked it up a bit,” Rainiers manager Jose Castro said. “It was a good homestand for us.”
The Rainiers took three of four games from the Isotopes and increased their lead in the Northern Division to 2ß games after Salt Lake’s 6-3 loss at Memphis on Friday.
Mauricio Robles got his first Triple-A win, allowing one run on two hits and striking out eight, but he did give up five walks in his five innings.
In the fourth, the wheels wobbled for the hard-throwing 21-year-old.
He walked four straight batters – walking in a run – before getting Mike Rivera to pop up in the infield to end the inning.
“He (Robles) was shaky from the start, but he battled through it and (they) only got two hits off of him,” Castro said. “He kept grinding it out there.”
Tacoma scored runs in the first three innings off Albuquerque knuckleball pitcher Charlie Haeger. Matt Mangini and Tug Hulett had three hits apiece, and Hulett’s bloop single into shallow right field in the second scored Greg Halman from third base to give Tacoma a 3-0 lead.
Haeger, who started the game on three days’ rest – he pitched two innings against Portland on Aug. 16 – was relieved after three innings.
The Rainiers didn’t score again until a four-run eighth inning, keyed by David Win-free’s bases-clearing double to left field. Winfree was 2-for-4 with four RBI. The Isotopes added three runs on three hits in the top of the ninth off reliever Josh Leuke.
Halman is averaging a home run in every 12.03 at-bats , which leads the PCL. He’s tied with Salt Lake’s Mark Trumbo for second in the PCL with 29 home runs. Las Vegas’ J.P. Arencibia leads with 31.
The Rainiers head to Reno for a four-game series that begins at 7 p.m. today. Tacoma sends top prospect Michael Pineda (3-2, 3.67 ERA) to the mound against Reno left-hander Zach Kroenke (5-3, 3.97). The game broadcast will be on 850-AM and at www.tacomarainiers .com.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com