Roenis Elias finally had the outing that he, the Tacoma Rainiers, and the Seattle Mariners have been looking for.
Elias delivered seven strong innings Tuesday night, earning the win as Tacoma topped Oklahoma City, 3-2. The Rainiers earned a split of the four-game series against the best team in the American Conference.
Elias entered the game with a 7.95 ERA in 11 Triple-A starts. His struggles caused the Mariners to bypass him when they needed a starting pitcher, instead moving reliever Vidal Nuno into the rotation.
On Tuesday night Elias allowed six hits and two runs. He walked one, struck out seven, and induced two ground ball double plays.
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“A very nice outing, he took us deep in the game,” said Tacoma manager Pat Listach. “He had a very good curveball and he kept them off balance.”
The curveball was the big difference from his previous outings, according to Listach.
“He had a very good curveball, he threw it over the plate, and he kept going to it,” Listach said. “When something is going good for you, you’ve got to go to it.”
Tacoma trailed 1-0 in the fifth inning when Leury Bonilla reached on an infield single, took third on a double by Patrick Brady, and scored on a Steve Baron ground out.
The Rainiers took the lead with two runs in the sixth inning against Oklahoma City ace Zach Lee. Chris Taylor walked to lead off the inning, and Stefen Romero doubled to left field. Justin Ruggiano singled home Taylor, and Romero scored on a ground out by Jabari Blash.
Relievers Mayckol Guaipe and Tony Zych pitched perfect innings in relief of Elias, with Zych earning his third save.
Tacoma’s three runs and seven hits marked the team’s biggest offensive output of the four games in Oklahoma City. That figures to change when the road trip moves on to high-elevation Colorado Springs on Wednesday.
“The games we won here were 2-0 and 3-2,” Listach said. “I’m looking forward to an offensive explosion in Colorado Springs.”
In the four-game series Tacoma batted .164 and scored a total of seven runs, yet managed to go 2-2. ... Pitcher Jordan Pries was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a hip injury. He has not yet been replaced on the roster. ... Oklahoma City’s Corey Seager — brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager — went 5-for-16 in the series. He played shortstop the first three games before moving to third base Tuesday.
The road trips moves to Colorado Springs for a four-game series starting Wednesday at 5:35 p.m. (PDT). Tacoma will start Adrian Sampson (1-2, 4.95) against Sky Sox left-hander Brent Suter (1-0, 2.38).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.