Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver used to declare his love for the three-run homer, but the two-run version was just fine for the Tacoma Rainiers on Tuesday night.
The Rainiers hit four two-run homers while enjoying a strong start by Chien-Ming Wang and beat the El Paso Chihuahuas, 9-4.
It was the fourth consecutive win for the Rainiers (50-54), who have scored 40 runs on 50 hits during the streak.
They jumped on El Paso starter Daniel McCutchen in the third inning Tuesday, scoring five times. McCutchen entered the game having gone 5-0 with a 1.53 ERA in his previous five starts.
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The scoring started when Stefen Romero hit an opposite-field, two-run homer over the 384-foot sign in right-center field at Southwest University Ballpark.
Jesus Montero followed with a double to right center, and Justin Ruggiano singled him home.
Jabari Blash followed with a towering two-run homer to left field — his fourth game in a row with a home run, and his sixth homer in 13 games since being recalled from Double-A Jackson.
“Unbelievable — he’s hot, man,” said Tacoma manager Pat Listach. “We’re going to try to ride him out for another month and a half.”
Once Blash got his daily dinger out of the way, it was Ruggiano’s turn to fill up the box score.
After Montero tripled to the right-field corner in the fifth inning, Ruggiano touched McCutchen for a long home run to straightaway center field, giving Tacoma a 7-1 lead.
Ruggiano went deep again in the seventh inning, slicing reliever Chris Rearick’s pitch to the right-field corner for a just-barely-fair two-run homer. Ruggiano finished 3 for 4 with two homers, three runs scored, and five RBIs.
“They brought in a lefty to face him, and that’s his specialty, hitting lefties,” said Listach.
A part-time player in the majors for the last two seasons, Ruggiano is finding that getting everyday at-bats is helping him.
“The at-bats, they were much needed,” Ruggiano said. “I’m starting to get very comfortable. Any time you can get this many at-bats, it helps you.”
Wang (1-2) lasted seven innings in his third and best start for Tacoma. Through six innings he allowed one run on four singles before he tired and gave up three runs to El Paso (54-49) in the seventh.
Game two of the four-game series is at 6:05 p.m. (PDT) Wednesday. Tacoma will start James Gillheeney (1-2, 9.64 ERA) against El Paso’s Colin Rea (2-0, 4.86).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.