The Fresno Grizzlies (54-39) earned a series split after defeating the Tacoma Rainiers (50-44) 5-3 Sunday afternoon at Cheney Stadium. With the win, Fresno bumped their division lead over Tacoma to 4.5 games. They improved to 28-20 on the road, 14-10 in day games and 7-8 in two-run affairs.
Grizzlies starter Brady Rodgers (no-decision) saw his first action with Fresno since April 19, 2017 versus Las Vegas after undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring. He hurled four and one-third frames, scattering six hits, three runs (earned), while walking two and fanning four.
A nine-batter, three-run top of the first gave the Grizzlies an early advantage. Derek Fisher led off the game with a towering drive to right field. It was his second homer of the series and his seventh of the season. Myles Straw (2-for-4) followed Fisher with a single to center and came around to score on a J.D. Davis (2-for-4) RBI single to left. Finally, a Jack Mayfield (2-for-4) RBI single to left knocked in AJ Reed (2-for-4). Mayfield extended his team-high hit streak to seven games in the process.
Nick Tanielu, a product of Washington State made it 4-0 Fresno in the visitor's half of the third with a sacrifice fly to left, adding Garrett Stubbs (walk).
Zach Vincej cut the deficit to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth when he found green grass in center, plating a pair. That would be all the support for starter Darren McCaughan (1-1, loss), who was up from Class-A Modesto. He was charged with six hits, four runs (earned), six free passes and five punchouts in four innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Tacoma trimmed the score to 4-3 with a bases-loaded walk.
Reed doubled to lead off the top of the seventh and waltzed home on a Rainiers error, pushing the lead to 5-3.
That would be enough for closer Brendan McCurry to notch his 11th save of the year. Brock Dykxhoorn (4-1) received the win after three-plus frames of scoreless relief.
The Grizzlies head back to Chukchansi Park for a four-game series against the River Cats starting Monday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PT. Fresno RHP Rogelio Armenteros (7-0, 3.28) and Sacramento fellow righty Jordan Johnson (0-2, 7.27) are the probable matchup.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.