TACOMA, Wash. - The Tacoma Rainiers (39-36) mounted an improbable comeback to take game one against the Las Vegas 51s (29-48) on Monday night at Cheney Stadium, winning 9-8.Left fielder Tyler O'Neill capped an eight-run comeback for the Rainiers with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth
TACOMA, Wash. - The Tacoma Rainiers (39-36) mounted an improbable comeback to take game one against the Las Vegas 51s (29-48) on Monday night at Cheney Stadium, winning 9-8.
Left fielder Tyler O'Neill capped an eight-run comeback for the Rainiers with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Rainiers a 9-8 lead. Right-hander Emilio Pagán then struck out the side in the top of the ninth, locking in the comeback win for the Rainiers.
The eight-run rally was the Rainiers largest comeback mounted by the club since at least 2015.
Las Vegas led off the game with back-to-back solo home runs from Victor Cruzado and Matt Reynolds off of Tacoma starter Chase De Jong.
De Jong gave up another solo home run to lead off the second inning as Las Vegas right fielder Travis Taijeron hammered a ball over the left field fence, before the 51s added one more run in the top of the third, making the score 4-0.
Las Vegas had another productive inning in the sixth, scoring four earned off of De Jong, giving them an 8-0 lead.
De Jong worked 5.1 innings, giving up eight earned runs off of 12 hits, striking out three batters, before being replaced by left hander Nick Hagadone.
Hagadone (3-3) pitched 2.2 innings of hitless ball for the Rainiers, tallying three strikeouts and ultimately earning the win.
Tacoma roared back in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run from O'Neill, and a two-run home run from center fielder Andrew Aplin, driving home designated hitter Leonys Martin and cutting the Las Vegas lead to 8-3.
Martin came up big again in the bottom of the seventh, homering over the right field fence, driving in right fielder Boog Powell, making the score 8-5.
The Rainiers run continued into the eighth, when third baseman Danny Muno drove in Aplin from second with a one out single, making it a two run ballgame. Catcher Tuffy Gosewisch then drove in two more, tying the game with a two out double down the left field line. O'Neill capped the rally and drove in Gosewisch from third with a game-winning single.
Pagan then came in to pitch in the bottom of the ninth and picked up the save, facing three batters, striking them all out.
Tacoma was led by Aplin (2x3, 2 RBI, 2 R), Martin (2x5, 2 RBI, 2 R), O'Neill (2x5, 2 RBI, R), Powell (2x5, R), and shortstop Tyler Smith (2x4).
The Rainiers face off against the 51s again in game two of a four-game series Tuesday night at 6:05 p.m. PT. Tacoma right-hander Andrew Moore (3-1, 3.19) and Las Vegas right-hander Donovan Hand (1-3, 6.99) will pitch.
All tickets, group outings and suites packages for the 2017 season are available for purchase in person at the Cheney Stadium Box Office, online at www.tacomarainiers.com, or over the phone at (253) 752-7707. The most up-to-date news and notes about the Rainiers throughout the season can be found by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand) or liking the team on Facebook.