FRESNO, Calif. – The Tacoma Rainiers (44-34) settled for a series split with the Fresno Grizzlies (38-39) after suffering a 5-3 loss at Chukchansi Park on Tuesday night.
The Rainiers offense logged nine hits, all of which were singles. Catcher Mike Zunino led the way with a 3-for-4 outing while driving in one run. For just the fifth time this season, the Tacoma lineup drew zero walks.
Fresno jumped on Tacoma starting pitcher Zach Lee early and often, striking for three runs off four hits – three of which fell for extra bases – in the opening frame to take a 3-0 lead.
Zunino and first baseman Efren Navarro each laced RBI singles in the top of the third to net the Rainiers a pair of runs and cut the Grizzlies lead to just 3-2.
A leadoff double from Matt Duffy in the bottom half of the third quickly turned into a fourth Fresno run when Jon Kemmer drove him in on an RBI single to right field, extending the Grizzlies edge to 4-2.
Designated hitter Dario Pizzano singled on a ground ball to center with one out in the top of the fourth and came in to score on an RBI single from shortstop Tyler Smith two batters later to give the Rainiers their final run of the night.
Tyler Heineman smacked a solo home run off Rainiers reliever Blake Parker – just his second home run allowed this season in 27 appearances – to create the final score of 5-3.
Lee lasted just 3.0 innings, throwing 78 pitches and allowing four runs on six hits with four walks and one strikeout. Four of the hits allowed by Lee went for extra bases.
Kraig Sitton and Tom Wilhelmsen both tossed 2.0 innings of scoreless relief. Wilhelmsen held the Grizzlies without a hit while striking out two.
The Rainiers enjoy a scheduled off day tomorrow before returning home for a brief four-game homestand against the Las Vegas 51s. Tacoma right hander Jarrett Grube (0-0, 3.77) and Las Vegas lefty Darin Gorski (0-1, 7.20) take the mound in the series opener scheduled to start at 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.