Tacoma reliever Andrew Kittredge saw both ends of the spectrum during the Rainiers 8-2 loss to the Fresno Grizzlies Monday night.
Kittredge entered a tight game in the bottom of the sixth inning with Tacoma trailing 4-2. The bases were loaded with nobody out, and Fresno was threatening to break the game open.
Kittredge escaped the jam, getting a force out at the plate, striking out Tony Kemp, and inducing a Robbie Grossman ground out to leave the bases loaded.
The very next inning, it was a complete reversal.
After retiring the first two batters, Kittredge consecutively walked Jonathan Villar, Tyler White, and Nolan Fontana to load the bases.
Up next was Max Stassi, who has a .177 average, and Kittredge got ahead of him 0-2 with two quick strikes. But Stassi sent the following fastball over the fence in right-center for a grand slam home run, and the Grizzlies led 8-2.
“The game got weird in the sixth,” said Tacoma manager Pat Listach. “We get out of a bases loaded jam, and the next inning we get two quick outs, walk the bases loaded, and give up a grand slam. That was different.”
The slam sucked all of the drama of what had been a tense game.
Fresno scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning against Forrest Snow, but the Rainiers starting pitcher settled down until the sixth.
The Rainiers scored single runs in the second and third innings, cutting Fresno’s lead to 3-2. Tacoma threated against Grizzlies starter Brady Rodgers in the fourth and fifth innings, getting two men on base in each frame before making the third out.
“We had a lot of base runners early and never did get the big hit,” said Listach.
Snow allowed a run in the sixth when Villar hit a leadoff triple and scored on White’s single to center.
Snow (7-5) allowed four runs in 52/3 innings, ending a string of 11 consecutive starts in which he permitted two runs or fewer.
James Jones and Tom Wilhelmsen both reported to Tacoma after their recent options by the Mariners. Jones led off and went 0-for-5, while Wilhelmsen pitched a scoreless eighth inning allowing two singles.
The series in Fresno concludes Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. with Tacoma’s Roenis Elias (2-0, 8.04 ERA) going against Fresno’s Mike Hauschild (1-1, 3.38).