Baseball games are like snowflakes: No two games are exactly the same.
Or are they?
Tacoma lost to Albuquerque on a walk-off home run for the second day in a row Tuesday night, 6-5, and the similarities between Monday’s and Tuesday’s losses are striking.
In each game the walk-off home run came from a player who had homered earlier in the game and each winning home run led off the inning.
On Tuesday, Tim Wheeler’s second homer of the night came against Tacoma reliever Mark Lowe. Leading off the bottom of the ninth, Wheeler pulled a rocket over the 404-foot sign in right-center field.
In the series opener Monday night, Dustin Garneau hit two homers, including a walk-off blast leading off the 10th.
“They put a good swing on the ball late in the game again,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said.
The Rainiers missed an opportunity to put together a multiple-run rally in the seventh inning. Tacoma had a run in to get to 5-4 and the bases loaded with nobody out, and the top of the order coming up. Albuquerque reliever Tommy Kahnle entered the game and slammed the door, getting Ketel Marte to line out to shortstop, then striking out Chris Taylor and Jesus Montero.
“We had a chance to really break it open in the seventh and didn’t get it done,” Listach said. “Kahnle’s pretty good. He’s pretty firm, 94-95 miles per hour and the ball was cutting away from the right-handed hitters.”
Jordan Pries started for Tacoma and lasted 52/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned). He left the game trailing, 5-3.
Tacoma’s Jabari Blash hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, and added a one-out double in the ninth. Shawn O’Malley followed with another double in the ninth, tying the score at 5-5.
Rehabilitating Colorado Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (strained groin) started for Albuquerque and pitched five innings, giving up five hits and the two-run homer to Blash. He didn’t walk anybody and threw 76 pitches.
With James Jones (sore shoulder) out for another game, Pat Kivlehan made his seventh career start in center field. ... Jones was used as a pinch runner and scored the tying run in the ninth inning. ... Stefen Romero was a late scratch from the starting lineup with back tightness.
Roenis Elias (1-0, 7.20) is slated to make his second start of the year for Tacoma at 5:35 p.m. Wednesday. Albuquerque is scheduled to start top prospect Jon Gray (0-1, 11.25).