Tacoma, WA (5/31/23) – The Tacoma Rainiers (26-27) came all the way back from a five-run deficit to force extra innings on Wednesday, before Pat Valaika hit a walk-off, 2-RBI single to defeat the Sacramento River Cats (24-29) by a 7-6 final at Cheney Stadium. Trailing 5-0 in the fourth,
Tacoma, WA (5/31/23) – The Tacoma Rainiers (26-27) came all the way back from a five-run deficit to force extra innings on Wednesday, before Pat Valaika hit a walk-off, 2-RBI single to defeat the Sacramento River Cats (24-29) by a 7-6 final at Cheney Stadium. Trailing 5-0 in the fourth, it was the largest comeback win for Tacoma this season. The Rainiers recorded their third walk-off win of 2023 while improving to 3-3 in extra-inning games (2-0 at home).
The River Cats broke a scoreless tie in their half of the third inning on a 2-run homer from David Villar (3). Sacramento kept it going in the fourth, drawing five free passes (4 BB, 1 HBP) to plate three runs and make the score 5-0.
Tacoma quickly put themselves right back in the game in the home fourth. Mike Ford hit his 13th homer of the season to lead off the frame (416 feet to right-center), followed by a pair of RBI singles from Pedro Severino and Cesar Hernandez to cut the lead to two runs. Valaika hit a seventh inning solo shot (2) to get the score to 5-4.
The Rainiers were down to their final strike with the tying run on third base in the ninth inning, but Cooper Hummel hit a bouncing infield single to the second base side, and brought Valaika across the plate to tie the game 5-5 and send it to the 10th.
In the visiting 10th, the River Cats scored their automatic runner off an RBI single from Luis Matos, but Rainiers RHP Nolan Blackwood delivered a strikeout to retire the side and strand the bases loaded.
For a second time, Tacoma was down to its final out when Valaika hit a game-winning line drive into right field to bring Brian O’Keefe (auto-runner) and Adam Engel (HBP, SB) around to score.
Zach DeLoach extended his on base streak to 17 games with a fourth inning single. The Rainiers right fielder added an eighth inning base hit for his 14th multi-hit game this season. DeLoach trails only Jake Scheiner (16) for the team lead in that category. Hummel, Valaika and Hernandez each joined DeLoach with two hits on Wednesday.
Right-handers John Creel (1.2 IP, 2 K), Taylor Williams (2.0 IP, 2 K) and Riley O’Brien (2.0 IP, 2 K) each worked scoreless outings out of Tacoma’s bullpen. Williams made eight appearances in May and did not allow any runs across 8.2 innings of work.
Game three of this series, the ninth of a 12-game homestand will be on Thursday, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma’s probable starter is RHP Konner Wade. RHP Drew Strotman is scheduled to start for Sacramento.
Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto will have full coverage on TacomaRainiers.com. All 2023 Rainiers games, home and away, can also be heard for free on the MiLB First Pitch app. HD video broadcasts of every home game can be viewed with a MiLB.TV subscription.
About the Tacoma Rainiers
The Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. The Rainiers are a member of the Pacific Coast League and have been a Mariners affiliate since establishing the Rainiers moniker in 1995.
The most up-to-date news and notes about the Tacoma Rainiers and Cheney Stadium can be found by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand), Instagram (@tacomarainiers) and liking the team on Facebook.