The bottom of the first inning for the Tacoma Rainiers against Las Vegas on Saturday night was not only bad — it was bizarre.
And Tacoma starting pitcher Roenis Elias played a huge part.
Elias issued a balk and allowed six runs on five hits in just two-thirds of an inning, then was ejected after being pulled by manager Pat Listach.
It led to an 8-4 loss to the Las Vegas 51s in front of a crowd of 6,567 at Cashman Field.
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“He had a bad first inning,” said Listach, whose team led 2-0 going into bottom of the first. “We came out swinging the bats well. We lost the momentum in the bottom half of the first inning.”
Chris Taylor’s 4-for-5 night with three doubles, an RBI and two runs was not enough for Tacoma (52-56). Taylor returned from the Seattle Mariners roster recently.
Taylor is now 7 for 9 against Las Vegas (60-48) this year.
“I’m just trying to keep it simple. It felt good to get some hits,” Taylor said. “I’ve been scuffling a little bit. They were mainly throwing fastballs, but one hit was on a slider. It is definitely good to build upon.”
With one out and runners on second and third and a run already in, Elias was called for a balk on a pitch that Jayce Boyd hit back to the mound. Elias thought he threw out Boyd at first, but the umpire by rule had to wait to call a balk until the play was completed in case Las Vegas benefited from a hit.
Six of the first seven 51s hitters reached base and scored. Elias threw 35 pitches and struck out his final batter.
The Rainiers and 51s play again at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tacoma is scheduled to start RHP Adrian Sampson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) against Las Vegas RHP Matthew Bowman (7-10, 5.32).