Two big innings doomed the Tacoma Rainiers in the final game of their road trip Tuesday night.
The Round Rock Express scored six runs in the fifth inning, and then broke the game open with a four-run eighth on the way to a 10-5 win over Tacoma.
Tacoma had to settle for a split of the four-game series in Round Rock, although the Rainiers did post a 5-3 record on the road trip.
Forrest Snow started for Tacoma, and for the first four innings he looked as sharp as he ever has. He allowed one hit through those four frames, and had thrown only 41 pitches while carrying a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
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Brett Nicholas led off the fifth with a single, and Chris Gimenez homered to make it 3-2. With one out Jason Donald tripled, and he scored on a two-out single by Luis Sardinas.
That was when things really started to unravel. Snow hit Michael Choice with a pitch, and Jared Hoying snapped the tie with a two-run triple. Hoying scored moments later on a wild pitch.
“That’s how our game is very unique — it can get away that quick,” Tacoma manager Roy Howell said. “You’re throwing the ball very well, a couple of guys get a bloop and a walk, then one guy squares you up and it’s in the gap.”
Tacoma battled back to make it a one-run game.
Ketel Marte lined his first Triple-A homer to start the sixth inning, making it 6-4. Marte’s homer off rehabilitating Rangers starter Derek Holland came in just his sixth Triple-A game — he hit just two homers in 109 games for Double-A Jackson.
“In his previous at-bat, he back-spun a ball and the centerfielder had to jump to catch it,” Howell said. “You could see he was on (Holland), and the next time he came up he hit a home run off him.”
Leury Bonilla singled in Ji-Man Choi in the top of the eighth, cutting Tacom’s deficit to 6-5.
But reliever Andrew Carraway had a development just like Snow: after tossing 22/3 scoreless innings and retiring six consecutive batters, Carraway allowed four runs in a span of five batters in the eighth inning. Wind-blown doubles by Bryan Petersen and Sardinas contributed to his demise.
Tacoma opens the final homestand of the year at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday against Omaha. Tacoma starts Taijuan Walker (6-3, 4.57 ERA) against Clayton Mortensen (5-3, 3.70).