SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Tacoma Rainiers (40-32) powered by the Sacramento River Cats (30-44) for a 5-2 victory on Wednesday night at Raley Field.
The win, coupled with Reno’s 12-10 defeat at the hands of the Las Vegas 51s, gave Tacoma solo possession of first place in the Pacific Northern Division.
Rainiers starting pitcher Joe Wieland delivered 5.0 innings of two-run ball to earn his 6th win of the season – he walked two, struck out three, and allowed one home run.
The Rainiers jumped on the scoreboard first with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. A leadoff single from third baseman Zach Shank and a double from shortstop Tyler Smith put the pair in scoring position for center fielder Boog Powell, who grounded out to first to score the first run. A passed ball from Andrew Susac scored Smith and gave Tacoma an early 2-0 edge.
Shank set up the Rainiers next scoring opportunity with a two-out single to left field in the top of the fourth. He moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI double from Smith, making the Rainiers lead 3-0.
Three consecutive extra base knocks, bookended by a solo home run from catcher Mike Zunino and an RBI triple from second baseman Daniel Robertson, gave Tacoma two more runs in the top of the fifth and expanded their advantage over the River Cats to 5-0.
Sacramento notched a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth frame, cutting into the Rainiers lead at 5-2. Juan Ciriaco blasted a solo home run and Austin Slater knocked a bases-loaded RBI single before an inning-ending double play from Miguel Olivo ended the threat.
Tacoma reliever David Rollins held the River Cats scoreless over two frames, but issued his first walk of the season. Rollins faced 115 batters and pitched 31.2 innings this year between Tacoma and Seattle before allowing his first free pass.
Blake Parker worked a hitless ninth inning for Tacoma – his lone blemish a leadoff walk – and earned his 13th save of the year.
Right-hander Zach Lee (0-0, -.–) makes his Rainiers debut as the series with the River Cats continues tomorrow, Thursday, June 23. Left-hander Adalberto Mejia (1-0, 0.00) will take the mound for Sacramento. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.
All tickets, group outings and suites packages for the 2016 season are available for purchase in-person at the Cheney Stadium Box Office, online at www.tacomarainiers.com, or over the phone at (253) 752-7707. The most up-to-date news and notes about the Rainiers throughout the season can be found by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand) or liking the team on Facebook.