COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. – The Tacoma Rainiers found something that could stop the team's streak of four consecutive games decided in the final inning: the weather.
A massive hailstorm, complete with thunder and lightning, forced the Rainiers and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox to halt play in the bottom of the sixth inning on Thursday.
Because five full innings had been completed, and the home team had the lead and also had the lead at the end of the last fully completed inning, the Sky Sox were credited with a 5-4 win.
It was a bit of a raw deal for the Rainiers, who were very much in the game.
“Any time you’ve got outs left in this ballpark, you have a chance to get the lead back,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said.
An hour after the hail started, Brown walked the outfield with the umpires and Sky Sox manager Stu Cole.
“Walking out there, it was sloppy,” Brown said. “The hail that fell wasn’t going anywhere, so the safest thing to do was call it a game and get after them tomorrow.”
It was the third loss in a row for the Rainiers, who dropped back-to-back heartbreakers to the Sky Sox on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Sky Sox had a runner at first base and two outs in the sixth inning when the hailstorm hit. The umpires cleared the field, and the hail continued for nearly 20 minutes before it turned to rain.
During the hailstorm, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Colorado Springs.
Tacoma had a 4-1 lead going to the bottom of the fifth when Colorado Springs opened the frame with four singles in a row off Tacoma starter Garrett Olson, making it 4-2 with the bases loaded.
Olson struck out Brad Eldred looking for the first out , but Jay Payton cleared the bases with a double off the left- field fence, giving the Sky Sox a 5-4 lead.
Olson (1-1), who entered the game with 10 consecutive shutout innings to start the season, allowed five runs in 4ª innings to take the loss. Sky Sox starter Chaz Roe (1-2) earned his first Triple-A win while getting credit for a complete game. Roe allowed four runs on six hits over six innings.
Tacoma third baseman Matt Mangini factored heavily in the offense. He grounded a single to right field leading off the third inning and scored on Chris Woodward’s triple to left field.
Mangini doubled to the left-field corner to open the fifth inning, and he scored on a Roe wild pitch to give Tacoma a 4-1 lead.
Relief pitcher Steve Bray was transferred to Double-A West Tenn . Bray appeared in five games, going 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA in nine innings. ... Outfielder Greg Hal-man missed his second consecutive game. He was diagnosed with strep throat. ... Rehabbing third baseman Jack Hannahan (groin strain) was scratched from the lineup shortly before the first pitch; Brown said he was a little sore and it was “precautionary.”
The series – and the road trip – concludes with a 5:05 p.m. game today. Tacoma will start right-hander David Pauley (0-2, 4.00 ERA) and the Sky Sox will counter with right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (2-0, 2.25).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.