It felt like April in August.
With rain and cold wind dominating Cheney Stadium, it looked as though the Tacoma Rainiers’ quest to clinch the Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division title would have to be put on hold for a day.
Tuesday’s game with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox looked like a sure rainout in the afternoon.
The start was delayed until 7:30 p.m.
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Then, 32 minutes into the game, the rain set in for an hour-long delay.
And yet the moisture, the cold and the delays wouldn’t deter the Rainiers from moving closer to a division title.
Tacoma pounded three home runs, including two from left fielder Mike Carp, in an 11-1 victory over the Sky Sox.
The Rainiers improved to 71-65 and whittled their magic number down to three.
Tacoma got an outstanding relief effort from Andy Baldwin in the win.
Starter Yusmeiro Petit pitched two scoreless innings, but was done after the long delay.
Baldwin came in with a 1- 0 lead and pitched 4† scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out four to improve to 9-7.
He was given plenty of run support, almost immediately after the delay.
In the third inning, Eliezer Alfonzo ripped an RBI double over the head of Colorado Springs center fielder Chris Frey.
Greg Halman followed with his 32nd homer – a solo blast over the wall in left.
Halman moved into fourth place in Tacoma franchise history for most homers in a season.
Halman also moved into a tie for second in the PCL leaders with Las Vegas’ J.P. Arencibia, one behind Salt Lake’s Mark Trumbo.
The Rainiers turned the game into a rout in the fifth inning.
They scored four runs on a Carp solo homer, an RBI double from Halman, a sacrifice fly from Tug Hulett and a run-scoring single from Dustin Ackley.
That pushed the lead over the Sky Sox to 8-1.
Tacoma continued to add to its lead when Carp hit his 25th home run – another solo blast – this time off the scoreboard in right-center.
Carp then added an RBI single in the eighth, finishing 3-for-4 with three RBI.
The Rainiers bullpen couldn’t quite hold the shutout.
Edward Paredes relieved Baldwin and gave up a run in the eighth on a single from Matt Miller.
The Rainiers’ penultimate home game of the regular season starts at 7 p.m. today at Cheney Stadium.
Left-hander Ryan Feierabend (4-6, 5.11 ERA) will start for Tacoma. Colorado Springs will start right-hander Chaz Roe (7-13, 6.13 ERA).
The game will be broadcast on 850-AM and www.tacomarainiers.com