The last time the Tacoma Rainiers faced Matt Cain, he pitched six shutout innings while Shin-Soo Choo, Bucky Jacobsen, Jose Lopez and their teammates could manage only four hits.
That was August 23, 2005 — Cain’s final start before his major league debut for the San Francisco Giants, which came six days later against Colorado.
Now 31 and with 98 big league wins, three World Series titles, and a perfect game under his belt, Cain made a rehabilitation start against the Rainiers on Friday night at Sacramento’s Raley Field.
The results were similar.
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Cain carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and earned the win as Sacramento defeated Tacoma, 7-4.
Luis Sardinas broke up the no-hit bid with a two-out single to right field on Cain’s 73rd and final pitch of the night. He left to a standing ovation from the crowd of 11,031.
“I feel good,” said Cain after the game. “The crowd was good, it had some good electricity. The guys got some runs on the board early, and I had a good time.”
Cain left the game with two runners on base — he had issued a walk before the Sardinas hit — and a 5-0 lead. He was charged with two runs when Stefen Romero laced a long two-run double to left-center against reliever Vin Mazzaro.
Sacramento scored early against Tacoma starter Joe Wieland.
A two-out error by Tacoma third baseman Patrick Kivlehan in the first inning was followed by a Travis Ishikawa single and a two-run double by Andrew Susac, and the River Cats led 2-0.
Consecutive two-out hits by Gorkys Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson in the second inning brought home two more runs, and the Rainiers were down 4-0.
Susac added a solo home run with two outs in the fifth inning. All told, Wieland allowed five runs in five innings, with every run scoring on a two-out hit.
Tacoma rallied in the ninth against submarining reliever Tyler Rogers. Tacoma scored two runs on a pair of singles, a hit batter and a wild pitch to make it 7-4.
When Ryan Strausborger reached on an error, Tacoma brought Nori Aoki to the plate representing the tying run.
Sacramento brought in Jake Dunning from the bullpen, and he struck out Aoki swinging to end the game.
The series continues at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Tacoma will start right-hander Zach Lee (0-2, 9.00 ERA) against Sacramento right-hander Chris Stratton (5-4, 5.79).
Mike Curto is the Tacoma Rainiers radio broadcaster.