ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A big first inning lifted the Tacoma Rainiers (10-6) to their third straight victory on Saturday night, a 5-3 decision over the Albuquerque Isotopes (7-10) at Isotopes Ballpark.
Tacoma starting pitcher Christian Bergman (3-0) earned the win after working 6.1 innings and allowing two runs on eight hits – he walked two and struck out three.
The Rainiers rocketed out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning on run-scoring singles from designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, right fielder Ben Gamel, and third baseman D.J Peterson.
Albuquerque got on the board for the first time in the bottom of the third, cutting Tacoma’s lead in half with a pair of runs. Daniel Castro dribbled a one-out single down the third base line that barely stayed fair and moved to third on a double down the left field line from Raimel Tapia. The ‘Topes runs came across on a groundout to shortstop and an RBI single by Mike Tauchman that deflected off Bergman, making the score 4-2.
A pair of back-to-back one-out singles by first baseman Dario Pizzano and shortstop Tyler Smith knocked Isotopes starter Matt Flemer out of the game, giving way to Johendi Jiminian, who balked both runners into scoring position. In the next at-bat, catcher Tuffy Gosewisch lifted a sacrifice fly into right to score Pizzano and extend Tacoma’s lead to 5-2.
The Isotopes mounted their final stand in the bottom of the ninth, as Daniel Castro knocked in Raimel Tapia on an RBI single to cut the Rainiers lead to two runs at 5-3.
Dean Kiekhefer (1.0) and Casey Fien (1.2) limited the Isotopes to just one run on three hits out of the Rainiers bullpen – Fien earned his first save of the season.
The Rainiers and Isotopes send a pair of righties to the mound in Sam Gaviglio (0-2, 3.38) and Zach Jemiola (1-1, 9.53) as the series continues tomorrow. First pitch is set for 12:35 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.