RENO - The Tacoma Rainiers had the Aces on the ropes in the ninth inning for the third day in row but Reno reliever Kam Mickolio was able to bear down and hold off the Rainiers’ ninth-inning rally for a 10-8 win Sunday.
After back-to-back ninth inning comeback wins, Tacoma entered the ninth Sunday down by four runs.
Mickolio, a former Rainiers reliever, was the third closer to be used in as many games by Reno manager Brett Butler.
Carlos Peguero led off the inning with a hard single to left, and Alex Liddi drew a walk. After an out, Mike Wilson and Johan Limonta had back-to-back RBI singles to cut Tacoma’s deficit to 10-8 and put the tying runners on base with one out.
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But Mickolio was able to regroup. He retired Sean Kazmar on a fly ball to right field and got Dustin Ackley to line out to center to end it.
“To come back, you’ve got to have some help, and they helped us the last couple of nights,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. “You throw a walk or two in there, some guys get some key hits, and you get the tying run on base. Today we just couldn’t get the hit that we needed.”
After Liddi and Peguero homered to help the Rainiers build a 4-1 lead, they fell behind when starting pitcher Chaz Roe unraveled in the fourth and fifth innings.
Roe walked the leadoff hitter in each inning, and Reno scored three runs in the fourth and six in the fifth.
Roe (0-2) balked in one run and uncorked a wild pitch to allow another. He was responsible for nine runs in 4† innings.
“In four games here, we didn’t get our starter through the sixth inning – it’s a tough place to pitch,” Brown said. “Today we walked seven and four of them scored – guys tend to pitch a little defensive in this park.”
Tacoma (8-16) split the series with the first-place Aces (15-8). The Rainiers went 4-4 on the trip, and Brown was pleased with his offense, which averaged more than eight runs per game.
“We had some guys start to swing the bats a little bit,” Brown said. “We raised our team batting average around 30 points on the trip.”
Liddi had his first multiple homer game for the Rainiers. Both homers were solo blasts to left field – one off Reno starter Kyler Newby, and another off veteran reliever Ron Mahay. Limonta was 3-for-5 in the game and went 9-for-17 in the Reno series. Mickolio pitched for Tacoma in 2007 before being included in the trade that sent Adam Jones to Baltimore for Erik Bedard. He was traded this winter to Arizona in the deal that sent Mark Reynolds to Baltimore.
The Rainiers open an eight-game homestand at the renovated Cheney Stadium with a 7:05 game tonight against the Tucson Padres. Tacoma is scheduled to start Fabio Castro (1-2, 5.89 ERA) against Tucson’s Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 5.31).