After four consecutive one-run losses, which included a pair of walk-offs earlier in the week, the Tacoma Rainiers finally emerged on Thursday from one of these nailbiters with a victory.
Tacoma took advantage of some 11th inning defensive miscues by Albuquerque and beat the Isotopes, 3-1.
Pitching was king on a sunny afternoon in New Mexico. Albuquerque’s John Lannan limited the Rainiers to one run over seven innings, and Tacoma starter Sam Gaviglio carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before surrendering a lone run.
“Pitching was outstanding on both sides,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said. “Our guy — he threw all of his pitches for strikes and kept them off-balance.”
Both bullpens continued the excellence from the mound, with Logan Bawcom, Mark Lowe, and Justin Germano delivering scoreless inning for Tacoma. The game moved to the eleventh inning tied 1-1.
Leury Bonilla started the winning rally by bouncing a hit through the left side of the infield. When the ball deflected off shortstop Cristhian Adames’s glove and rolled into shallow left, Bonilla rounded first and took off for second base. Adames retrieved the ball and would have thrown out Bonilla at second, but the ball was bobbled by second baseman Angelys Nina.
“I was going, ‘No no no,’ and when I saw him bobble it, I was going, ‘Go go go.’ It’s a big hustle play, got us in scoring position,” Listach said.
Next up was James Jones, trying to bunt the runner to third base. He laid down a perfect bunt on the third base side, and pitcher Simon Castro fielded it and tried to throw out Jones at first base. Instead, Castro fired the ball over the first baseman’s head and down the right field line. Bonilla scored the go-ahead run, and Jones advanced to third.
“Jones really struggled with his bunts in spring training, and he laid down a perfect one right there,” Listach said.
Jones scored on a sacrifice fly by Ketel Marte, and Germano set down the side in order to close out the game.
The win allowed the Rainiers to avoid a four-game series sweep in Albuquerque, and ended a four-game losing streak.
“It was good to come out on top,” Listach said. “This was a series where we could have won four, or we could have lost four.”
The Rainiers will take a 3-5 record into the home opener Friday night.
The Rainiers host El Paso in the home opener at Cheney Stadium at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Tacoma starts Mike Kickham (0-0, 10.38) against El Paso’s James Needy (0-0, 12.27).