Tacoma Rainiers

Mike Montgomery strong on the mound, but Rainiers fall to River Cats, 3-1

He may be the new guy in the Mariners organization, but Mike Montgomery is quickly making a name for himself.

The 25-year-old left-hander turned in another strong start for the Tacoma Rainiers on Tuesday night in Sacramento, although he ultimately took the loss in a 3-1 decision to the River Cats.

Acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade for Erasmo Ramirez at the end of March, Montgomery had little opportunity to impress his new bosses in spring training. Instead, he’s doing it during the regular season.

Montgomery needed just 89 pitches to cruise through seven innings, allowing four hits, no walks and struck out four. He was charged with three runs, but only two were earned.

“He pitched outstanding,” said Rainiers manager Pat Listach. “He had command of three pitches again, as he has in his other starts. It’s (looking) promising for him.”

A poor hitting night for the Rainiers meant that Montgomery (1-2) took the loss despite shaving his earned run average down to 3.32.

It looked like Tacoma was the Rainiers were going to jump all over Sacramento starter Austin Fleet (1-1).

Ketel Marte singled in the first inning, stole second, and scored on a Franklin Gutierrez single. Carlos Quentin had a 390-foot flyout. John Hicks crushed a long double in the second but was stranded on base.

Tacoma (7-13) had a big missed opportunity in the third. Chris Taylor lined a double to left to start the inning, and Marte followed with an infield single. Runners were at the corners with no outs, and the middle of the batting order coming up.

But Fleet picked off Marte for the first out. He hit Gutierrez with a pitch, and then got Quentin to hit a hard grounder to third for an inning-ending around-the-horn double play.

“We made some mistakes — the pickoff was huge,” Listach said. “We put up a lot of hits the first three innings, and then the offense just got cold.”

The Rainiers stranded two more runners in the fifth, and wasted a leadoff hit-by-pitch in the sixth before Fleet exited the game.

Sacramento’s impressive bullpen held the Rainiers hitless in the final three innings. Erik Cordier tossed a scoreless seventh, and major league veteran Juan Gutierrez earned the save with two shutout innings.

“Their bullpen is real good,” Listach said. “You gotta get the starters.”

SHORT HOPS

Reliever Lucas Luetge was added to the active roster; he was optioned to Tacoma by the Mariners on Sunday morning. To make room on the roster, Andrew Kittredge was sent to extended spring training. ... Justin Germano is joining the starting rotation and will pitch on Friday in the spot originally held by Roenis Elias.

ON TAP

The Rainiers enjoy their first day off of the season Wednesday before opening a four-game homestand when the Fresno Grizzlies visit Cheney Stadium at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. The scheduled starters are Tacoma’s Jordan Pries (1-1, 7.29) against Fresno’s Alex White (0-2, 5.79).

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