SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Tacoma Rainiers fell to 0-2 on the season with a 5-1 loss to the Sacramento River Cats (2-0) on Sunday afternoon at Raley Field.
First baseman Daniel Vogelbach singled twice and drew one walk to lead the charge on offense for the Rainiers, while catcher Steven Baron drove in the club’s only run of the contest.
Tacoma starting pitcher Dylan Unsworth (0-1), making his Triple-A debut, allowed two runs on seven hits across 5.2 innings of work while striking out two and taking the loss.
Sacramento grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI ground out double play hit into by Jae-Gyun Hwang. Kelby Tomlinson scored on the play after leading off the inning with a hit by pitch and advancing to third on a hit-and-run single laced into left field by Christian Arroyo.
Tacoma eventually broke through for a run in the top of the fifth inning after being limited to just one hit over the first four frames. Vogelbach’s leadoff single was wiped away on a double play ground ball hit by D.J. Peterson before the bats came back to life. A trio of two-out singles culminated in an RBI base knock from Baron, scoring left fielder Dario Pizzano and evening the score at 1-1.
Kelby Tomlinson jump-started an answering rally for Sacramento in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out single. With Hwang at bat, Tomlinson stole second base and came around to score on a Hwang single into left field, giving the River Cats a one-run margin at 2-1.
Kyle Blanks busted the game open for Sacramento in the bottom of the eighth, hitting a three-run home run into left field off Rainiers reliever Tony Zych to extend the River Cats lead to 5-1. The score would hold there, giving Sacramento their second consecutive victory over Tacoma to open the year.
Emilio Pagan, a member of Team Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and Zych, on rehab assignment from Seattle, represented the Rainiers out of the bullpen. Pagan tossed 1.1 scoreless innings, striking out two without allowing a hit. Zych surrendered three runs on three hits in the eighth inning, his only frame of work.
The Rainiers and River Cats wrap up their series with a doubleheader tomorrow, Monday, July 10. Game one is scheduled to start at 4:05, while game two will begin approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of game one – both contests are scheduled for seven innings.
Tacoma will start right-hander Chase De Jong (0-0, -.–) in game one and right-hander Ryan Weber (0-0, -.–) in game two. Sacramento is slated to start right-hander Joan Gregorio (0-0, -.–) and southpaw Ricky Romero (0-0, -.–).
All tickets, group outings and suites packages for the 2017 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.