EL PASO, Texas – Daniel Vogelbach’s grand slam in the top of the seventh inning helped propel the Tacoma Rainiers (8-6) to a 6-5 extra-inning victory over the El Paso Chihuahuas (7-8) on Thursday night at Southwest University Park.
Tacoma found themselves facing an early 5-0 deficit after three innings before mounting their largest comeback of the season, tying the ballgame at 5-5 and sending the two clubs to extras. A pair of doubles in the top of the 10th ultimately sent the Rainiers home victorious.
Vogelbach, serving as the Rainiers designated hitter, finished the night 1-for-3 with one run, a grand slam, four RBI, and three walks. Second baseman Gordon Beckham (2×6, 2 R, RBI) and catcher Tuffy Gosewisch (2×5, R, RBI) both logged multi-hit outings.
In relief of Tacoma starting pitcher Dillon Overton, right-handed reliever Ryan Weber turned in 5.2 innings of scoreless, two-hit relief. He has now racked up 13.2 consecutive scoreless innings to open the season.
The Chihuahuas opened up the slugfest with a pair of home runs in the bottom of the second inning. Jamie Romak led off the frame with a solo shot to left center field and was followed four batters later by Dusty Coleman, who roped a line drive two-run shot to right center, giving El Paso a 3-0 lead.
El Paso tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third to expand their lead all the way out to 5-0. Franchy Cordero kicked off the inning with a double to left and was driven in on an RBI single from Cory Spangenberg. Jose Pirela knocked in an RBI of his own with a one-out single to center before a double play ended the threat.
Beckham kick started the Rainiers rally with a leadoff solo home run in the top of the sixth inning – it was his third home run in four games, and his team-leading fourth long ball of the year.
Tacoma’s biggest inning came in the top of the seventh; Gosewisch doubled with one out and third baseman Zach Shank promptly filled first base behind him on a five-pitch walk. Beckham followed with a fly ball single to center, loading the bases for Vogelbach, who cleared the bases with a game-tying grand slam home run to right center field. It was the second home run in as many games for Vogelbach, who is now hitting .292 on the season.
The Rainiers bullpen locked down the Chihuahuas for the remainder of regulation, securing extra innings for the first time this season for both clubs.
Right fielder Boog Powell and Gosewisch ripped open the tie with relative ease, smacking back-to-back doubles in the top of the 10th to push Tacoma out in front 6-5. Right-handed reliever Jean Machi, who also worked the ninth inning, notched the first out in the bottom of the frame before giving way to Dean Kiekhefer, who shut the door and earned his second save of the year.
Rainiers right-hander Chase De Jong (2-0, 1.74) gets the call to start against Chihuahuas righty Bryan Rodriguez (1-0, 0.75) as Tacoma and El Paso close out their series on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PT.
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.