The Tacoma Rainiers improved their offense and defense compared to the previous game with the Sacramento River Cats.
It still wasn’t enough, however, as Tacoma lost to Sacramento, 5-3, for the third consecutive game Thursday.
Left-hander Roenis Elias started for Tacoma. It was an up, then down, night for the Cuban.
Elias started hot, with Sacramento going nine up and nine down through three innings. He did hit a batter in the second, but a timely double play ended the inning.
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But his performance took a turn starting in the fourth.
The first three batters all singled, scoring one run in the process. The other two would also score on a sharply-hit double by Mac Williamson. It was a quick three runs that put Tacoma in a hole.
“We couldn’t keep them out of the big inning,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said. “When they start putting crooked numbers up, it’s hard to catch up.”
Sacramento tacked on another in the fifth. It was a longer affair, with a wild pitch from Elias and a throwing error scoring Trevor Brown, who led off with a walk.
Elias pitched into the sixth, but didn’t record an out and was relieved by Logan Kensing. Elias allowed five runs, four of which were unearned, on five hits. He walked two and struck out four over his five-plus innings.
After being shut out through five innings, the Rainiers started scraping together runs in the sixth. With Chris Taylor and Justin Ruggiano on the corners after being hit by pitches (Taylor advanced on a wild pitch), Patrick Kivlehan hit a ball to deep left field that was nearly caught, but dropped. Taylor scored and Ruggiano advanced to third on Kivlehan’s double.
With two outs, John Hicks and Shawn O’Malley recorded RBI singles that cut Sacramento’s lead to 5-3 but a strikeout ended the threat.
“We’re getting a lot of singles lately,” Listach said. “When Kivlehan hit the double, it was our first extra-base hit in three or four games. We gotta get in good hitting counts and mash the balls into the gap.”
Tacoma10 hits (nine singles), but those were the only runs they scored, going 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve got big boys and we need some extra base hits,” Listach said.
Mental mistakes plagued the Rainiers all evening. An error, three wild pitches and a balk all contributed to the loss.
Ramon Flores continues to impress in a Rainiers uniform. He has safely reached base in each of his 13 games with Tacoma. He entered Thursday’s game hitting .444 with six doubles and 16 walks and went 2 for 4 with a walk. … Chris Taylor has also been hot. Taylor has reached base safely in 18 consecutive games. He has hit over .400 in that span with six doubles and 16 walks. … Danny Farquhar has not allowed a run in his past three relief appearances, including a scoreless inning Thursday.
The homestand concludes at 7:05 p.m. Friday with right-hander Adrian Sampson (1-1, 4.50 ERA) taking the mound for Tacoma. He will face Sacramento right-hander Tommy Hanson (0-5, 8.90 ERA).