The Tacoma Rainiers scored 15 runs on 17 hits in Albuquerque on Friday night, and they needed almost all of them.
A seemingly comfortable 10-2 lead during the seventh-inning stretch turned into a tense situation in the later innings, but the Rainiers tacked on an additional five runs and claimed a 15-10 victory.
“In Albuquerque you are never out of it,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said. “At least we came out on top.”
Jesus Montero homered twice and drove in four runs as the Rainiers built the big lead. He lined a solo homer to left field in the third inning, then lifted a deep fly to left with a man on base in the sixth.
Both Montero homers — as well as a two-run shot by Pat Kivlehan in the fifth inning — came against Isotopes starter Yohan Flande, who had a game to forget. The left-handed Flande (2-3) was charged with 10 earned runs on 14 hits over six innings pitched.
“They left him in there for a while — they’re bullpen must be thin,” Listach said. “I like our chances against lefties — we’re a right-hand dominant team, and we didn’t have a left-handed hitter in the lineup.”
Tacoma starter Forrest Snow (5-4) delivered another strong appearance, limiting Albuquerque to two runs over the first six innings.
Trailing 10-2, the Isotopes rallied to score five runs — three earned — in the bottom of the seventh inning against Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom. Bawcom should have allowed just one run — he appeared to get a double play grounder off the bat of Matt McBride with one out, but shortstop Chris Taylor booted the ball for a costly error. Albuquerque scored four more runs after the miscue.
Taylor had four hits, including a single to start a rally in the eighth which resulted in an insurance run.
The Rainiers drove in four more runs with just one hit in the top of the ninth against wild reliever Rex Brothers. Brothers issued four walks, including two with the bases loaded, and Tacoma took a 15-7 lead.
Once again the lead wasn’t safe. The Isotopes scored three runs with one out in the bottom of the ninth, and had runners at first and second with one out. Andrew Kittredge got Brock Bond to fly out to center, and Mayckol Guaipe came in and retired Kyle Parker to end the game.