One big inning doomed the Tacoma Rainiers’ four-game winning streak.
The Fresno Grizzlies tallied five runs in the second inning and cruised to an 8-4 victory over the Rainiers on Sunday evening at Chukchansi Park.
Three of the five runs came after Rainiers starter Brad Mills recorded the second out. A walk to No. 9 hitter Max Stassi put two runners on base for Andrew Aplin, who doubled in a pair of runs. Colin Moran followed with an RBI single to make it 5-0.
Mills ended up pitching into the fifth inning, and was charged with seven runs on nine hits. He left trailing, 7-2.
Tacoma threatened in the top of the seventh against Fresno reliever Jandel Gustave. Guillermo Heredia, Daniel Robertson and Stefen Romero hit consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs.
The Grizzlies brought in Brendan McCurry to face Mike Zunino, and Zunino promptly pulled a two-run single to left field. That made it 7-4, with Patrick Kivlehan coming to the plate as the tying run.
But McCurry got Kivlehan to ground into a broken-bat double play, and struck out Luis Sardinas to end the inning.
Tom Wilhelmsen pitched the bottom of the seventh in his first appearance for Tacoma since he was reacquired by the Mariners. He allowed one run on two hits.
Tacoma (43-33) is 4-2 on the eight-game trip, having won three of four at Sacramento before splitting the first two games in Fresno. Tacoma has not posted a winning record on a road trip this season.
Backup catcher Rob Brantly left on paternity leave, so Tacoma activated bullpen catcher P.J. Jones for Sunday’s game. A Washington State product who played at short-season Everett last year, Jones was released by the Mariners during spring training but retained as Tacoma’s traveling bullpen catcher. Rainiers manager Pat Listach got him an at-bat as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning, and he grounded out against former Mariners reliever Josh Fields. … The Rainiers expect to add catcher Jesus Sucre to the roster Monday. … Demoted Mariners outfielder Nori Aoki did not report to the Rainiers on Sunday. He was optioned to Tacoma on Friday and has until Monday to report.
The third game of the series in Fresno starts at 7:05 p.m. Monday. Tacoma will start right-hander Joe Wieland (6-4, 7.18 ERA) against Fresno right-hander Brad Peacock (2-3, 4.59).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.