Anthony Rizzo showed his torrid hitting pace isn’t about to end any time soon.
The Tucson first baseman homered and drove in three runs Tuesday to power the visiting Padres to a 5-4 victory over Tacoma in Pacific Coast League play at Cheney Stadium .
But even with Rizzo’s efforts pushing Tucson to a five-run lead, the Rainiers (9-17) still had chances to register a victory, getting the tying run on third in the seventh inning and on second in the ninth.
Both times Tacoma batters failed to move the runners, adding to Tacoma’s woes in close games this season as the Rainiers fell to a PCL-worst 2-8 in one-run games.
“It’s hard to get down 5-0. It’s not your typical one-run game,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. “I thought we did a nice job battling back. We had some chances to tie the game late. We just couldn’t come up with a hit. We needed someone to come through and we didn’t get that.”
Rizzo smashed his PCL-leading eighth home run in the first inning off Rainiers’ starter Luke French to give Tucson (13-13) a quick 3-0 advantage.
Rizzo finished 3-for-4, pushing his batting average to .398 and upping his league-high RBI total to 36 .
A two-run shot in the fourth inning from Guillermo Quiroz increased Tucson’s lead to 5-0.
Both home runs came off French, who fell to 0-4.
“Luke was just leaving some pitches up in the zone and not getting by with them,” Brown said. “You can’t do it, but if you take away the home runs it’s a different game. They got all their runs on a couple home runs.”
Mike Carp put the Rainiers on the board in the fourth with a two-run shot.
Tacoma added two runs in the seventh inning, getting an RBI from Johan Limonta and a run-scoring double off the bat of Matt Tuiasosopo , before Tucson reliever Randy Flores struck out Alex Liddi to end the threat.
French lasted through the sixth inning, allowing five runs on nine hits with three strikeouts.
Will Inman (1-2) picked up the victory for the Padres, while Neshek was credited with the save.
SEATTLE U AT CHENEY
The Seattle University baseball team will take on the Oregon Ducks on Tuesday at Cheney Stadium , with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. Tickets will be available on a general-admission basis beginning one hour before game time. Prices are $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12 as well as senior citizens.
Blake Beavan (1-0, 5.60 ERA) will take the mound today at 7:05 p.m. for Tacoma as it continues the home series with Tucson. The Padres counter with Jon Leicester (1-0, 2.84). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM and www.tacomarainiers.com .