RENO - One day after blowing two late leads before losing in 12 innings, the Tacoma Rainiers pulled off a stunning rally with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to beat the Reno Aces, 9-6, on Friday.
Trailing 6-5, Johan Limonta opened the ninth inning with a single off Reno closer Rafael Rodriguez.
Two batters later, Tacoma had a runner at third and two outs, with Matt Tuiasosopo, who was hitless at that point, at the plate.
Tuiasosopo pulled a bounding ground ball between shortstop and third base for a single, scoring Sean Kazmar with the tying run.
Matt Mangini followed with a broken-bat single to right field, and then Carlos Peguero ripped the first pitch he saw down the right-field line for a two-run double, giving Tacoma an 8-6 lead.
Peguero scored the final run on a wild pitch .
“Limonta started it off, and then three guys who hadn’t done a whole lot all night came through with big hits for us,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said.
The three players with the consecutive two-out hits entered the ninth inning a combined 1-for-11 in the game.
Josh Lueke nailed down the save, recording three strikeouts to end the game after the first two batters reached in the final inning.
Tacoma (7-15) has won three of its past four games and is 7ß games behind first-place Reno (14-7).
Brown said the win wasn’t any sweeter on the heels of Thursday’s 12-inning loss.
“All wins feel good right now – it doesn’t matter what happened yesterday,” Brown said. “I was glad to see guys keep fighting, keeping it close, and breaking through in the ninth.”
Mike Wilson gave Tacoma an early lead with an opposite-field three-run homer in the second inning off Reno starter Micah Owings.
Tacoma led 4-2 until Reno scored four runs on six consecutive hits off Tacoma starter Blake Beavan in the bottom of the fourth.
The Rainiers pulled a run closer on Josh Bard’s two-out RBI single in the eighth.
Rehabilitating Seattle Mariners closer David Aardsma faced four batters in the eighth inning, striking out two while hitting one and giving up a double. He threw 25 pitches, 14 for strikes.
Former Rainiers slugger Juan “The Large Human” Thomas was in attendance. Thomas, who hit .300 with 23 home runs and 95 RBI for Tacoma’s 2001 co-champion team, coaches youth baseball, runs a landscaping business, and works part-time at a hospital in Reno. Rainiers outfielder Mike Carp (hamstring) missed the game.
Chris Seddon (0-1, 2.28 ERA) pitch for Tacoma at 6:05 p.m. today (broadcast on 850 AM). Reno will start Kevin Mulvey (1-2, 15.00).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Rainiers.