Tacoma, Wa.---The Tacoma Rainiers (45-33) scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning as they came back to defeat the Fresno Grizzlies (36-42) 5-4 on Sunday afternoon at Cheney Stadium.
Fresno right-handed reliever Daryl Maday (0-1), who was fresh off the airplane this morning coming from Reading, Pennsylvania, was given the ball with a one-run lead but gave up back-to-back singles to Tacoma second baseman Robert Andino and left fielder Abraham Almonte to start the inning. Then after Maday threw a wild pitch which advanced the runners, shortstop Brad Miller hit a sacrifice fly to score Andino and tie the game at 4-4. The fly out also advanced Almonte to third base. Fresno had to draw the infield in, and center fielder Dustin Ackley ripped a ball to Fresno second baseman Carter Jurica, but it skidded past him and that scored Almonte for what turned out to be the game-deciding run.
It was Miller (5) who also took part in a first inning rally with a two-run home run to right field which gave Tacoma a 2-0 lead.
Fresno fought back in the third inning against Tacoma right-handed starter Erasmo Ramirez. With one on and one out, center fielder Gary Brown (10) belted a two-run homer to left field to tie the game. It was Brown's seventh homer over his last 12 full games. Later in the inning, catcher Johnny Monell doubled and scored on a single to left field by first baseman Brett Pill. That gave Fresno a 3-2 lead.
For the second straight game the opposing starting pitcher had double digits in strikeouts. On Saturday night it was left-hander James Paxton who fanned 11, and on Sunday Ramirez struck out 10 in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits, four runs (three earned) while he walked one and surrendered one homer.
Fresno right-hander Chris Heston at one point retired 11 straight Rainiers. He lasted seven innings, issued four hits and three runs (all earned), walked two, struck out four, gave up one homer, and had two wild pitches. Both wild pitches contributed to a Tacoma sixth-inning run.
While Maday gave up two eighth inning runs, the winner for Tacoma was right-hander Jonathan Arias (3-1). He did not allow a run in his 1 1/3 inning pitched. Left-hander Brian Moran (4) struck out the two batters he faced to notch the save. Fresno struck out in order in the ninth.
Grizzlies batters struck out 16 times on Sunday--the most in one game this year and have fanned 30 times over the first two games in this series.
Fresno has not won back-to-back road games in over a month--last doing so as part of a four-game winning streak from May 10-13 at Nashville and Memphis.
Game three of this scheduled four-game series will be on Monday night at 7:05 at Cheney Stadium. Fresno right-hander Fabio Castillo (0-4) will face fellow righty Brandon Maurer (1-1) for Tacoma.
Brown extended his hitting streak to 14 games while Monell extended his to 12 games. Second baseman Cole Gillespie reached base safely twice to extend his on-base streak to 13 games.