Zunino Muscles Rainiers Past River Cats, 5-3

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Catcher Mike Zunino sent out a pair of home runs – one in the first inning and another in the ninth – to lift the Tacoma Rainiers (48-40) to a 5-3 victory over the Sacramento River Cats (38-52) on Saturday night at Raley Field.

Zunino finished the night 3-for-5 with two runs, two home runs, and five RBI. Center fielder Guillermo Heredia (3×5) and third baseman Zach Shank (2×4) also contributed multi-hit efforts to the Rainiers 11-hit night.

Starting pitcher Zach Lee tossed his first quality start since joining Tacoma, allowing just three runs on seven hits over 6.0 innings of work. He struck out four and allowed one home run.

Tacoma dealt damage just five pitches into the game, taking an early lead over the River Cats 3-0. Singles from left fielder Norichika Aoki and Heredia set up a three-run home run from Zunino, his 16th of the season.

Andrew Susac swatted a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the second, getting the River Cats on the board and cutting the Rainiers lead to 3-1.

The River Cats earned a pair of RBI singles from Ali Castillo and Ryan Lollis in the bottom of the third inning to tie the contest up at 3-3.

The game remained tied at three runs apiece until the top of the ninth, when Zunino sent out his second home run of the night – a two-run blast to left field that gave the Rainiers the 5-3 edge. The go-ahead dinger marked his second multi-home run game of the year, and his first since April 18 at Albuquerque.

Andrew Kittredge, Kraig Sitton, and Blake Parker combined to toss 3.0 innings of shutout relief out of the Rainiers bullpen. Parker worked the final two outs of the night, earning his 15th save of the year.

Tacoma and Sacramento close out the first half of the season with a day game tomorrow, Sunday, July 9. Right hander Jordan Pries (1-1, 4.26) is scheduled to go for the Rainiers, while the River Cats are expected to hand the ball to righty Joan Gregorio (2-4, 5.07). First pitch is set for 1:05 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.

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