FRESNO, Calif. – The Tacoma Rainiers (44-33) sealed their first winning road trip of the season with a 6-2 victory over the Fresno Grizzlies (37-39) on Monday night at Chukchansi Park.
Starting pitcher Joe Wieland allowed just two runs on five hits over 5.0 innings of work, but it was Steve Johnson (3-0) who earned the win after holding Fresno to just one hit with two strikeouts over 2.0 frames of relief.
The Rainiers offense posted their fifth double-digit hit total of the road trip, scattering 13 total base knocks. Shortstop Luis Sardinas (3×5) contributed a pair of runs and three RBI, while left fielder Norichika Aoki (2×4), designated hitter Stefen Romero (2×4), first baseman Efren Navarro (2×4), and third baseman Zach Shank (2×3) all contributed multi-hit outings.
Tacoma rallied for a pair of runs with two outs in the top of the second to take an early 2-0 lead over the Grizzlies. Shank lined an RBI double into left field to score Sardinas and put Tacoma on the board. Aoki, making his Rainiers debut, followed with a run-scoring single.
Grizzlies third baseman Colin Moran lifted a solo home run in the bottom of the second to cut the Rainiers lead in half at 2-1.
Fresno loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third but only managed to push across one run – courtesy of an RBI double-play grounder from Preston Tucker – to tie the contest at 2-2.
The game remained knotted up at 2-2 for four innings before the Rainiers broke things open with a three-run eighth. The first three Tacoma batters to the plate in the inning notched base hits, including a two-run single from Sardinas. He moved to second when second baseman Daniel Robertson was hit by a pitch and came around to score on an RBI single from Shank, giving Tacoma a 5-2 edge.
Navarro beat out a potential double play in the top of the ninth and came around to score two batters later on another RBI single from Sardinas, creating the winning margin of 6-2.
Casey Coleman allowed just one hit to drop over the final 2.0 innings of the night, earning his fourth save of the season.
Tacoma and Fresno wrap up their series tomorrow, Tuesday, June 28 with a first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT. The Rainiers will turn to right-hander Zach Lee (0-0, 7.50) for the start, while the Grizzlies hand the ball to right-hander Cesar Valdez (4-1, 3.71).
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