MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Tacoma Rainiers (70-50) pushed across six runs in the top of the fourth inning and held on for a 6-5 victory over the Memphis Redbirds (58-62) on Saturday night at AutoZone Park.
Tacoma starting pitcher Taijuan Walker allowed four runs on six hits over 4.1 innings of work – in his first non-rehab minor league start since 2014 he issued four walks and struck out three.
Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte (1-0) followed Walker with 2.0 innings of scoreless relief while allowing just one hit. He struck out two and earned his first win in a Rainiers uniform.
First baseman Dan Vogelbach (2×5), right fielder Stefen Romero (2×5), designated hitter Rob Brantly (2×4), and catcher Jesus Sucre (2×3) all posted multiple hits while combining to score three runs and drive in five.
The Rainiers busted open a scoreless evening with six runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a commanding 6-0 lead over the Redbirds. The first three batters to the plate for Tacoma notched base hits, concluding with an RBI single from Brantly. An RBI groundout by third baseman Zach Shank and two-run doubles from Sucre and Vogelbach plated the final runs.
A pair of run-scoring doubles in the bottom of the fourth helped Memphis quickly respond to the Rainiers big inning, and cut the Tacoma lead to 6-2.
The Redbirds plated two more runs on bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull within two runs of the Rainiers at 6-4.
Harrison Bader’s leadoff walk for Memphis and a fielding error by Rainiers second baseman Matt Freeman led to an RBI single by Breyvic Valera in the bottom of the eighth, cutting Tacoma’s edge to just one run.
Rainiers right-hander Zach Lee (0-5, 6.46) and Redbirds righty Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 5.04) will square off in game three between the two clubs tomorrow, Sunday, August 14. First pitch is set for 4:05 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.