TACOMA, Wash. – The Tacoma Rainiers (45-35) scattered 13 hits and took down the Las Vegas 51s (42-38) by a score of 9-1 on Friday night at Cheney Stadium.
Left fielder Norichika Aoki (3×3), center fielder Guillermo Heredia (3×4), and second baseman Daniel Robertson (2×4) powered the Rainiers offense, while combining for six runs and three RBI.
Starting pitcher Cody Martin (7-5) turned in 7.0 innings of scoreless work, holding the 51s to just five hits while walking two and striking out six. He earned his seventh win of the year and lowered his season ERA to 3.93.
The Rainiers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a triple to center field from Heredia scoring Aoki, followed by a single to left field from Stefen Romero to plate Heredia in the bottom of the first inning.
Tacoma pushed their lead to 5-0 with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. The first three batters of the frame reached base setting up a bases loaded walk from Patrick Kivlehan to score Aoki. Two batters later, Sardinas lifted a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Heredia, followed by a two-out, one-run single to right field off the bat of Jesus Sucre to plate Romero.
Rob Brantly belted a solo home run off of the scoreboard in right-center field to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Heredia followed three batters later by smacking a double down the left field line to score Robertson, pushing the Rainiers lead to 7-0.
The 51s got on the scoreboard in the top of the eighth inning when Gavin Cecchini scored on a groundout double play from Eric Campbell, making it 7-1 in favor of Tacoma.
The Rainiers added two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning on a single to left field from Aoki to score Robertson and Zach Shank, pinch running for Aoki, came around to score when Kivlehan grounded into a double play, extending the Rainiers advantage to 9-1.
Steve Johnson worked the final 2.0 innings for Tacoma, holding Las Vegas to one run on two hits while striking out two and issuing two walks.
Tacoma right-hander Donn Roach (4-4, 4.26) and Las Vegas lefty Sean Gilmartin (8-3, 4.48) will square off as the Rainiers and 51s continue their series tomorrow, Saturday, July 2. 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 http://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.