EL PASO, Texas – A seventh inning solo home run sunk the Tacoma Rainiers (7-4) in a 4-3 loss to the El Paso Chihuahuas (6-7) on Tuesday night at Southwest University Park.
Tacoma starting pitcher Sam Gaviglio (0-2) worked 6.1 innings for the Rainiers and surrendered four runs on seven hits while taking his second loss of the year. He issued no walks and struck out five.
Tyler Smith, starting at shortstop for the Rainiers, went 2-for-3 with one run as the only multi-hit performance in Tacoma’s lineup.
Center fielder Boog Powell snagged a 1-0 lead for the Rainiers on an RBI groundout in the top of the third inning, scoring Smith from third base.
First baseman D.J. Peterson doubled the Rainiers lead in the fifth with a towering solo home run down the left field line that just barely stayed fair to extend the visitors advantage to 2-0.
El Paso bruised and lucked their way into a trio of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take their first lead of the evening at 3-2. Jabari Blash led off the inning with a fly ball to left that got lost in the sky and eventually fell in for a leadoff triple. Jamie Romak doubled home Blash, and subsequently came across to score on an RBI single from Rafael Ortega. Finally, a wild pitch thrown by Gaviglio brought Ortega home, putting the Chihuahuas out in front.
Rainiers second baseman Gordon Beckham notched his third home run of the year, a solo shot that barely escaped over the right field wall, in the top of the sixth to tie the game up at 3-3.
The tie didn’t hold up for long, as Romak would send out a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving El Paso the winning run at 4-3.
Emilio Pagan was the only arm out of the Rainiers bullpen on the night, pitching 1.2 innings and allowing just one hit – he walked three and struck out two.
The Rainiers and Chihuahuas continue their series on Wednesday with a first pitch again set for 5:35 p.m. PT. Tacoma and El Paso will send a pair of righties in Chris Heston (1-0, 2.25) and Tyrell Jenkins (1-1, 2.61), respectively, to the mound.
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.