OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Tacoma Rainiers (54-53) collected a 14-9 series-opening victory over the Oklahoma City Dodgers (56-49) on Saturday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Center fielder Ian Miller and shortstop Taylor Motter, hitting in the top two spots in the Rainiers lineup, combined to power the offense by going 6-for-12 with five runs scored, one double, and three RBI. Second baseman Gordon Beckham (3×6, R, 2 RBI), catcher Tuffy Gosewisch (2×4, R, 2 RBI, BB), and designated hitter Steven Baron (2×4, 2 R, RBI, BB) all also collected multiple hits.
Rainiers starting pitcher Marco Gonzales turned in a quality start in his second outing with the club, allowing five runs (three earned) on two hits over 6.0 innings of work. He walked four, struck out four, and earned the win.
A flurry of singles, walks, and a hit by pitch led to a big frame for the Rainiers offense in the top of the third. Motter opened up the rally with an RBI infield single with the bases loaded, and left fielder Danny Muno capped the five-run rally with an RBI double play that gifted Tacoma a generous 5-0 lead.
Tacoma again loaded the bases in the top of the fourth, this time netting a pair of runs on a sacrifice fly from first baseman Daniel Vogelbach and an RBI single off the bat of Beckham. The two-run rally pushed the Rainiers out to a commanding 7-0 lead.
Oklahoma City responded with a big inning of their own, scoring five in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut the Rainiers lead to 7-5. Tacoma countered with a pair of runs in the next half frame – Motter roped an RBI double to right field for the first run and Gosewsich drew a bases-loaded walk to move the Rainiers lead out to 9-5.
Alex Verdugo collected a run for the Dodgers with an RBI double to center in the bottom of the seventh, but once again the Rainiers responded to extend their lead. Muno collected two RBI with a bases-loaded single into right to kick start the rally. Gosewisch and Baron both picked up RBI singles of their own, and Miller wrapped the rally with an RBI fielders choice. Tacoma’s second five-run outburst of the evening pushed their advantage out to 14-6.
Tyler Cloyd was the only man out of the Tacoma bullpen, pitching 3.0 innings and earning his first save of the season. He allowed four runs (one earned) on three hits while walking one and striking out four.
The Rainiers and Dodgers continue their series on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. PT. Tacoma has not yet named a starting pitcher, while Oklahoma City will call upon right-hander Scott Barlow (1-2, 7.81) to start.
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.