The Tacoma Rainiers were shut out for the first time this season on Friday night in Fresno, and it happened just the way one would expect it to — with a lot of missed opportunities.
Tacoma left nine runners on base — six of them stranded in scoring position — while being whitewashed by the Grizzlies, 4-0.
It was the third straight loss for Tacoma, which fell to 12-17 on the year. As recently as Wednesday, Tacoma had won five of six and pulled within two games of .500.
The first inning foreshadowed the game to come: James Jones, Stefen Romero, and Franklin Gutierrez each walked against Fresno starter Brady Rodgers, and Tacoma left them all on.
Forrest Snow (1-2) started for Tacoma, allowing just one run over five innings and taking a tough loss.
Fresno scored against Snow in the fourth, when L.J. Hoes drew a leadoff walk, took third on Alex Presley’s single to right, and scored on a groundball base hit by Domingo Santana.
Tacoma’s best opportunity to get on the scoreboard came immediately after Fresno took the lead. Shawn O’Malley and Jones had consecutive singles to open the top of the fifth, and they were at second and third with one out for No. 3 hitter Romero.
Trying to lift a fly ball to score a run, Romero popped up to the second baseman for the second out. That brought up Jesus Montero, who worked a full count against Rodgers.
In a rare managerial move, Fresno skipper Tony DeFrancesco removed Rodgers mid-batter, bringing Richard Rodriguez in from the bullpen to throw the full-count pitch to Montero. The strange play worked, as Montero flied out to right field on the first pitch Rodriguez threw.
Rodriguez (2-0) tossed three scoreless innings and earned the win.
Fresno added three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against Lucas Luetge, despite connecting for just one clean hit in the inning.
Ketel Marte singled in the seventh inning, extending his hitting streak to 14 straight games. That matched his previous career high, set in 2013 while playing for Class-A High Desert… Franklin Gutierrez was removed from the game with an apparent leg injury after running out an infield single in the sixth inning. Gutierrez walked off the field without assistance.
The Rainiers will send Mike Montgomery (2-2, 3.14 ERA) to the mound against Fresno’s Tommy Shirley (3-0, 3.26) in the second game of the series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.