In a sudden pennant race with the Tacoma Rainiers (50-43), the Fresno Grizzlies (53-39) picked up their first win of the road series and first post-break victory Saturday night. The 7-1 win restored the Grizzlies' first place lead in the Pacific Northern Division to three and a half games, as they aim for a series split on Sunday.
A two-run homer to right field by AJ Reed opened the scoring in the top of the first; Derek Fisher (2-for-4) set the table with a double and it was 2-0 Fresno after an inning. Reed's 20th home run of the season was his 69th career with the Grizzlies, drawing him within one of Brett Pill (70) for third on the franchise list. Only Damon Minor (79) and Todd Linden (84) have more homers in Fresno's Triple-A history. Reed's 75 RBI are the most in Triple-A.
An Adam Law solo shot in the second, his second homer, trimmed the Fresno lead to 2-1.
The Grizzlies scored three times in the fifth for some breathing room and a 5-1 advantage. Fisher drew a bases loaded walk, before J.D. Davis lifted a sac fly. Antonio Nunez (2-for-4) later scored from third base on an errant pick-off throw; three consecutive singles began the inning, from Jack Mayfield (2-for-4), Nick Tanielu (2-for-4) and Nunez.
Tacoma starter Williams Perez (2-1) exited in the fifth inning with the bases loaded, after being struck with a comebacker. The right-hander allowed six hits and five runs (four earned), with no walks and three strikeouts in four-plus innings of work.
Washington state native Taylor Jones smacked a solo shot to left field in the sixth, extending the Fresno lead to 6-1. It was Jones' third Triple-A home run, and his first of the series in his homecoming. It was 7-1 after back-to-back doubles by Mayfield and Tanielu followed Jones and scored another.
Fresno starter Trent Thornton (6-7) posted a quality start, surrendering just the solo homer. In six innings, he allowed four hits and two walks. The right-hander struck out six. Grizz lefty Buddy Boshers earned his third save of the season, allowing only a harmless single in the ninth during three innings of scoreless relief to end the game, with three strikeouts.
The finale of the four game set will be Sunday at Tacoma's Cheney Stadium, with RHP Brady Rodgers scheduled to make his season debut for Fresno. It will be Rodgers' first action with the Grizzlies since April 19, 2017 at home against Las Vegas, before having Tommy John surgery. His rehab assignment concluded on July 13 (optioned to Fresno by Houston Astros). RHP Darren McCaughan will pitch for the Rainiers, on loan from A-Advanced Modesto (California League). First pitch is at 1:35 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.