For a moment it looked as though Chris Woodward's line drive to center field might be hit just hard enough to give the Tacoma Rainiers a win.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Rainiers might have turned a one-run deficit into a one-run win.
While that is the area in Cheney Stadium where home runs go to die, all Woodward needed was for the ball to somehow touch the outfield grass as the crowd of 8,148 roared with hope.
But the liner didn’t have the distance to get past Reno’s Drew Macias, who tracked it down to preserve Reno’s 3-2 win on Sunday.
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Instead of a winning hit, it was just another missed opportunity for the Rainiers in a game full of them.
“That wasn’t our only chance,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown said. “We went for 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position so we had plenty of … chances.”
While Woodward’s ninth-inning shot was caught, the Aces got the winner in top of the ninth on a similar hit just out of the Rainiers’ reach.
Kelso native Jeff Bailey ripped a shot to right-center to lead off the ninth against reliever Scott Patterson. The hit was inches out of the reach of Tacoma’s Jeff Dominguez, who replaced Greg Halman after he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
Brown said the fact Dominguez usually plays infield wasn’t the determining factor.
“He played center field in Double-A earlier this year,” Brown said. “He made a nice effort just to get close. For any guy, that’s a very tough play to make.”
Brandon Allen followed with a single to right to put runners on first and third with no outs.
Ed Rogers stepped up and delivered a fly to center just deep enough to score Bailey from third with the winner.
The late run overshadowed a solid outing from Rainiers starter Yusmeiro Petit. The right-hander surrendered a leadoff homer to Doug Deeds in the first, then struck out the next six batters. Petit gave up a sacrifice fly in the third inning, but allowed just three hits in six innings, striking out eight and walking one.
“I thought Petit was pretty good,” Brown said. “We just didn’t give him much run support.”
The Rainiers scored in the fifth inning on Dustin Ackley’s leadoff double and Woodward’s two-out single to right.
In the seventh, Adam Moore crushed a solo homer – his third – to left field to tie it.
In the ninth, Reno closer Carlos Rosa gave up a one-out double to Moore, then walked Ackley and pinch-hitter Brad Nelson to load the bases with one out. Rosa struck out Mike Wilson before facing Woodward.
Jose Marte (2-2) pitched a perfect eighth inning to win in relief. Patterson (2-1) took the loss.
Tacoma got three hits from Matt Mangini.
The Rainiers face the Aces at 7 p.m. today at Cheney Stadium. Top pitching prospect Michael Pineda (3-1, 3.38 ERA) will start for the Rainiers. Reno will start left-hander Zach Kroenke (2-3, 4.48 ERA). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM and www.tacomarainiers.com .