If the Tacoma Rainiers are going to clinch back-to-back Pacific Coast League Pacific North Division titles, they are going to do it on the road.
Michael McKenry had three RBI, Warren Schaeffer drove in a pair, and visiting Colorado Springs defeated Tacoma, 10-4, in PCL play at Cheney Stadium on Wednesday.
Tacoma’s magic number to clinch the Pacific North crown remains at three with five games remaining in the regular season as Salt Lake cut the Rainiers’ lead in the division to 2ß games by defeating Fresno, 8-7.
Mike Carp hit his 25th home run of the season – giving Tacoma 21 home runs in the last six games – and Justin Smoak had two RBI.
Tacoma (72-66) will play its last regular-season home game tonight at 6 p.m. against the Sky Sox before closing out the season with four road games in Fresno, Calif.
Tonight marks the last game played at Cheney Stadium before the 51-year-old ballpark gets a $26.5 million renovation.
Should the Rainiers make the playoffs, they will play all first-round home postseason games at Safeco Field in Seattle due to construction at Cheney.
The regular season ends Sept. 6, with the best-of-five playoff series kicking off on Sept. 8. The North Division champions play on the road in Games 1 and 2 against the South Division winners, beginning Sept. 9 .
Dustin Ackley, Brad Nelson and Smoak each had two hits for Tacoma. Matt Mangini singled to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.
Mangini is hitting .479 average (23-for-48) during the streak.
The Sky Sox scored four runs in the fourth, highlighted by consecutive run-scoring doubles from Kazuo Matsui and Cole Garner, to break up the scoreless tie and end the night for Tacoma starter Ryan Feierabend, who fell to 4-7 after giving up the four runs on six hits.
Anthony Varvaro, who replaced Feierabend, didn’t fare much better, getting just one out and being yanked right after McKenry ripped a base-loaded double, pushing Colorado Springs’ lead to 6-0.
Colorado Springs (62-76) added a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to make it 10-1.
The Pacific Coast League announced its all-league team Wednesday. No Rainier made the 12-man squad. Headlining the team was Las Vegas catcher J.P. Arencibia, the only unanimous selection, and Salt Lake first baseman Mark Trumbo, who tops the league in home runs (34) and RBI (115).
The Rainiers play their final regular-season home game today against the Sky Sox. First pitch is at 6 p.m. Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-3, 6.00 ERA) makes the start for Tacoma. Greg Smith (1-5, 6.65) takes the mound for Colorado Springs.