FRESNO, CALIF. - For the third straight game, Tacoma fell behind early and was unable to dig itself out of the hole.
Fresno scored two runs in the first, third, and fifth innings to build an early lead, eventually posting a 10-2 victory over the Rainiers on Tuesday afternoon at downtown Chukchansi Park.
Fresno banged out 19 hits and had runners on base in every inning, yet early errors by Tacoma (2-4) helped lead to its third loss in a row.
“We’re not playing very good defense,” said Tacoma manager Daren Brown. “You can’t give up three or four unearned runs a night and expect to win.”
Tacoma starter Luke French allowed six runs in five innings, but only two runs were earned as the Rainiers committed three errors.
French (0-2) gave up 11 hits but four were infield singles, and he had better command than he showed in his opening day start.
“French battled through some things,” Brown said. “He was better than last time up, and if we made some plays behind him he’d fare a little better. It was a step in the right direction after last one.”
Tacoma trailed 4-0 before Mike Carp launched his first home run of the season, pulling a pitch deep to right field in the top of the fourth inning.
Carp went 1-for-4, striking out in his other three at-bats. Carp hit 29 home runs for Tacoma last year, but he is one of several Tacoma batters who is off to a slow start, going 2-for-20 so far.
Ryan Vogelsong (2-0) started and earned the win for Fresno. The former Pittsburgh Pirate lasted 5† innings before running into trouble. He struck out eight, giving him 17 in 11ª innings this season.
Tacoma threatened in the sixth. Carlos Peguero singled in Sean Kazmar to make it 6-2, and the Rainiers had the bases loaded with one out. But Vogelsong struck out Jose Yepez, and David Mixon relieved to face Leury Bonilla, who struck out to end the threat.
Outfielder Mike Wilson was a late lineup scratch with a sore shoulder suffered while colliding with the outfield fence on Monday. He’s listed as “day-to-day”... the absence of Wilson caused Brown to shuffle his lineup: Peguero, an unlikely candidate, played center field, with Bonilla in right and Matt Tuiasosopo in left. Alex Liddi shuffled to first base, and Jetsy Extrano made his Triple-A debut as a third baseman.
The third game of the four-game series is at 7:05 p.m. on 850-AM. Tacoma starts right-hander Blake Beavan (0-0, 2.25) against right-hander Shane Loux (0-1, 1.50).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers.