The Rainiers bullpen strikes again.
For the second consecutive night, Tacoma relievers couldn’t keep the Sacramento River Cats at bay as the Rainiers dropped their sixth in a row, 4-3, in 12 innings Friday at Cheney Stadium.
Both squads battled to a stalemate until the 12th inning when the River Cats finally took control. A leadoff double from Ryan Lollis put the go-ahead run on base. A sacrifice bunt by Kelby Tomlinson moved Lollis to third. Juan Perez then followed with a sharp line drive into left, scoring the winning run easily.
Rainiers manager Pat Listach said his team has to execute better to win close games. He noted Sacramento did execute and that was the difference.
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Earlier in the seventh inning, Edgar Olmos gave up the run that led to extra innings. After allowing a base hit to Carlos Triunfel, a fielding error by catcher John Hicks put Darren Ford on base. Triunfel was picked off trying to steal third, but Ford scored after Lollis sent a grounfd ball up the middle.
Lollis crushed Rainiers pitching all night, going 5 for 6 with two doubles and an RBI.
It ruined what was a strong start from Roenis Elias. He was effective over six innings and kept the Rainiers in the game. He gave up seven hits, but only allowed two runs and struck out three. Elias attacked the strike zone and didn’t allow a walk in the game.
“It was one of his better starts here in Triple-A,” Listach said. “Obviously he’s pitched better in the big leagues than he has here, but he came out and competed.”
Listach said he wanted to send Elias back out, but didn’t want his pitch count to get too much higher.
Other Tacoma relievers fared better. Mayckol Guaipe allowed only one hit and turned a double play to get out of the eighth inning to maintain a 3-all tie.
Danny Farquhar also threw two scoreless innings. Listach was pleased with their performances.
The Rainiers’ offense capitalized on one burst of runs, which came in the fourth inning. Leon Landry landed at second with a double and Justin Ruggiano drew a walk after being behind 1-2 in the count. Jabari Blash then smashed a home run over the left field fence, giving Tacoma a 3-1 lead.
The River Cats were making good contact again. After racking up 14 hits the night before, they bettered it Friday with 16. This time, the hits were less timely as only four runs were scored in the game.
Leon Landry extended his hitting streak to six games. … Ketel Marte has struggled in two games since returning from a broken thumb. He has gone 0 for 9 at the plate with four strikeouts.
The four-game series with the River Cats continues Saturday aT 7:05 p.m. with right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (0-1, 3.00 ERA) starting for the Rainiers. Sacramento will send out right-hander Tommy Hanson (0-2, 5.87 ERA).