Tacoma Rainiers season opener: Swanson strong debut, but Sacramento prevails in extra innings

If only the Tacoma Rainiers bullpen had as good of night as Erik Swanson.

Swanson, the Rainiers’ opening day starter, threw five shutout innings Thursday in Sacramento but it was the hometown Rivercats who came away with the victory, grabbing a 5-4 win in 11 innings thanks to the Rainiers’ leaky bullpen.

Swanson struck out eight, walked none while scattering six hits. He departed with a 2-0 lead that turned into a 3-1 Rainiers’ advantage going into the bottom of the ninth.

Sacramento’s Mike Yastrzemski — grandson of Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer, Carl — tied game at 3 with a two-run double off of Nick Rumbelow.

The Rainiers took advantage of the minor-league baseball rule that has a runner starting each inning at second base in the 11th when Kris Negron singled home Shed Long to give the Rainiers a 4-3 lead. That lead didn’t last, either.

Aramis Garcia doubled off Rainiers’ reliever Robinson Leyer, driving in designated runner Henry Ramos with the tying run. Garcia then scored the game-winner and then Beryvic Valera doubled him in. Leyer took the loss.

Leading the Rainiers offense was Long, who scored three times; catcher David Freitas, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Braden Bishop, who went 2-for-5.

The Rainiers and River Cats are back in action tonight at 7 p.m. in Sacramento.