EL PASO, Texas – The Tacoma Rainiers (66-46) climbed to 20 games above .500 for the first time since 2001 with a back-and-forth 16-15 victory over the El Paso Chihuahuas (62-51) on Thursday night at Southwest University Park.
Shortstop Mike Freeman and right fielder Stefen Romero combined to finish the night going 6-for-10 with eight runs, one double, one home run, and five RBI. First baseman Dan Vogelbach (3×5) and second baseman Tyler Smith (4×5) also contributed multiple hits to the Rainiers 16-hit night.
The two clubs combined to score 31 runs on 36 base hits, including seven home runs.
Down 2-1 after the first inning, the Rainiers rallied to score nine runs over the next five innings to take a 10-4 lead. A five-run top of the third was highlighted by a three-run home run from catcher Rob Brantly, his 12th of the season.
El Paso responded with a six-run bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 10-10. The first five Chihuahuas batters to the plate reached base, scoring three runs, before Hector Sanchez struck out swinging for the first out of the frame.
Not to be outdone, the Rainiers raced back out to a six-run lead with a half dozen runs in the top of the eighth inning. Romero kicked off the scoring with a two-run home run, while a bases-loaded walk drawn by left fielder Dario Pizzano, a two-run single from Smith and an RBI single from center fielder Daniel Robertson plated the other four runs.
The Chihuahuas rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth and two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but would ultimately come away with a 16-15 loss at the hands of the visiting Rainiers. Manuel Margot’s two-run home run in the final frame, his fifth hit of the night, polished off the night’s scoring.
Tacoma starting pitcher Forrest Snow, making his first start of the year for the Rainiers, allowed four runs on seven hits through 4.0 innings of work. The Rainiers bullpen allowed 11 runs on 13 hits over the final 5.0 innings – David Rollins moved to 4-0 after earning the win.
The Rainiers will send right-hander Jarrett Grube (1-2, 3.83) to the mound to continue their series with El Paso tomorrow, Friday, August 5. The Chihuahuas are expected to call on right-hander Carlos Pimentel (11-5, 5.37). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 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.