FRESNO, Calif. — The Tacoma Rainiers came out of the gate hot on the Fourth of July, scoring three runs in the first inning.
It was all downhill from there.
Fresno scored the final 10 runs of the game — including a hard-to-believe, six-run rally with two outs in the sixth inning — and beat Tacoma, 10-3, in front of 12,589 fans Saturday night.
The Rainiers’ Jesus Montero got things off to a good start by hitting an opposite-field, two-run homer in the first inning against Fresno left-hander Brett Oberholtzer. It was the 14th home run of the season for Montero, who finished with three hits.
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Two batters later, Carlos Rivero doubled home Justin Ruggiano, and it was 3-0.
Rainiers starter Sam Gaviglio allowed a pair of early runs before settling into a groove. The Oregon State product retired 10 straight batters and had a 3-2 lead with two outs in the sixth inning when every break suddenly started to favor the Grizzlies.
“I think Gaviglio was just running out of gas a little bit,” said Tacoma manager Pat Listach. “For the most part, all of the singles he allowed were on fastballs.
The Grizzlies’ Jonathan Villar started the improbable two-out rally with a bloop single to shallow center. Tyler White followed with a weak grounder that found the hole between shortstop and third for another single. Gaviglio then walked Nolan Fontana on four pitches, loading the bases.
Gaviglio got to a 2-2 count on Tyler Heineman, but Heineman fouled off five straight pitches before grounding a single to center, scoring two runs to give Fresno a 4-3 lead.
Then Andrew Aplin — a .204 hitter — grounded a single through a hole in the infield to score another run, and it was 5-3.
That brought 5-foot-6 Tony Kemp to the plate, and the speedy leadoff hitter pulled a deep fly ball to right field. Stefen Romero tracked it to the fence and tried a leaping catch, only to have the ball deflect off his glove and fall into the front row of the seats for a three-run homer.
It was the first out-of-the-park homer of the year for Kemp, who previously only had an inside-the-parker in nearly 300 at-bats.
Gaviglio (7-7) went from being an out away from a quality start to being charged with eight runs in 5 2/3 innings.
The Rainiers overhauled their roster on Saturday. Outfielder James Jones and pitchers Mayckol Guaipe and David Rollins were called up by Seattle, with pitchers Tom Wilhelmsen, Roenis Elias and Vidal Nuno sent to Tacoma. Tacoma placed Lucas Luetge on the disabled list, sent Tony Zych to Double-A Jackson, and activated Logan Kensing from the disabled list. Patrick Kivlehan was placed on the temporarily inactive list while he plays for Team USA in the Pan-American Games.
Game two of the series is at 6:05 p.m. Sunday. Tacoma starts Vidal Nuno (0-0, 0.00) against Fresno’s Luis Cruz (4-3, 4.32).