The Fresno Grizzlies (72-59) defeated the Tacoma Rainiers by a score of 10-1 on Oreo Taco Night at Chukchansi Park. It was the opener of the final four-game series of the season between the clubs and the start of the last homestand of 2017 for the Grizzlies. Carlos Correa went 1-for-3 with two RBI in his first Major League rehab game with Fresno. He made four plate appearances through six innings and was involved in three putouts.
The win secured Fresno their third consecutive winning season. It marks the first time in 20 years since Triple-A baseball has been in Fresno there has been three straight winning seasons. The 2015 (84-59) and 2016 (73-70) Grizzlies were the first consecutive winning seasons since the inaugural 1998 (81-62) and 1999 (73-69) teams.
Fresno starter David Martinez (7-11) earned the win through seven innings for his 10th quality start of the season. He allowed just one run on two hits and two walks while striking out a season-high of 10. It passed his previous season-high of eight punch-outs and was the second time in 2017 a Grizz pitcher has struck out 10 batters. Rogelio Armenteros struck out 10 through five innings in game one of the double header at Albuquerque on August 12.
The Grizzlies were quickly on the board in the first when Tony Kemp led off the game with a base hit and scored on an A.J. Reed (2-for-5) RBI single after stealing his team-leading 23rd base. Fresno increased their lead to 5-0 in the second. Drew Ferguson led off the inning with a base hit which was followed by a walk to Garrett Stubbs before they both scored on an Alejandro Garcia two-run double. After Rico Noel (3-for-4) singled to get on, he and Garcia scored when an error allowed Tyler White to reach on a fielder's choice.
A second consecutive nine-batter four-run inning occurred for the Grizzlies in the third. Ferguson led off the frame with a walk, and after advancing on a wild pitch and a balk, he scored when Stubbs reached on an error by the first baseman. In his third plate appearance in the first game of his Major League rehab assignment, Correa hit a RBI single to third that scored Garcia who was hit by a pitch to get on. White's second RBI of the night came when he reached on an error that scored Kemp (fielder's choice) to give Fresno a 9-0 lead.
Tacoma was able to get on the board in the fifth. Mike Marjama led off the top of the inning with his third home run of the season, a solo shot to center. The Grizzlies got the run back in the bottom of the fifth when Correa notched his second RBI of the game to make the score 10-1. He hit a sacrifice fly to right that scored Noel who doubled to get on. It was Correa's first game back in Fresno after playing 24 games with the 2015 Grizzlies before his permanent call-up to the Houston Astros.
Rainiers starter Christian Bergman (9-4) suffered the loss through just an inning and two thirds. He allowed the first five runs (four earned) on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Three relievers and Zach Shank, the starting right fielder, finished out the game for Tacoma. Seven of the 10 runs were earned as they combined for nine strikeouts.
The series continues at Chukchansi Park on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Max Povse (1-3, 7.97) will be on the mound for Tacoma. RHP Lance McCullers will be on the hill for Fresno, making his first Major League rehab appearance of the season with the Grizzlies.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.