The Rainiers’ bullpen needed help, and it arrived in time for a 12-inning pitching duel at Cheney Stadium on Sunday.
Tacoma rotated four pitchers and the game went scoreless until the 12th. The Rainiers defeated Fresno, 1-0, on a walk-off walk.
“Any time you go that many scoreless innings, that’s outstanding,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said. “I can’t remember one going this long with no score and end up 1-0. It was good to come out on top in a game where both teams used a lot of bullpen guys. We’re happy to win that.”
Tacoma was short on relief pitchers on Friday, after sending two to the big leagues. But David Rollins and Steve Johnson were activated Sunday after being sent down from Seattle.
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The Rainiers’ pitchers allowed seven hits, one walk and had 12 strikeouts.
Both offenses were at a stalemate heading into the 12th inning. Then Fresno’s Reymin Guduan secured two outs with Daniel Robertson on first. Guduan intentionally walked Tyler Smith, then Efren Navarro. With the bases loaded, Guduan threw Stefen Romero four pitches, all balls, sending the winning run, Robertson, home.
Aside from scoring the game’s lone run, Robertson went 4 for 5.
Until the 12th inning, Tacoma had runners in scoring position with two outs three separate times before it converted, and two bunts were popped up for fly outs. Offensively, Listach was displeased with the lack of execution.
“We didn’t execute today on the fundamental side,” Listach said. “But we still won the game. We’ll take that. We’ll take a win every day.”
Roach gave up four hits and struck out four in eight scoreless innings, tying Adrian Sampson for the most innings pitched by a starter this season. Casey Coleman entered in the 12th, had three strikeouts and earned the win.
After getting hit in the hand by a pitch, right fielder Mike Baxter was scheduled for an X-ray Sunday night.
The Rainiers needed active bodies in the bullpen and they got two more Sunday. Right-handers Johnson and David Rollins were activated before the game. Rollins, who entered in the 10th inning, conceded two hits and struck out three. The Mariners designated Johnson for assignment Friday, and Rollins was sent back to Tacoma after pitching a scoreless 1 ⅓ innings for the Mariners in Boston. Johnson began the season in Tacoma and had a 2.25 ERA in seven games before being optioned up to Seattle.
Rollins’ streak of not walking a batter all year is still alive. He accumulated a 3-and-1 count against Fresno’s Nolan Fontana in the 11th, but Fontana flew out to center field.
The Rainiers and Grizzlies face off for the final game in the series at 6:05 p.m. Monday at Cheney. Tacoma starts Cody Martin (5-4, 5.27 ERA) against Fresno’s Tommy Shirley (4-4, 5.40).