With the way things had been going for them lately, the Tacoma Rainiers were not worried after being no-hit by Reno starter Randall Delgado through five innings on May 6. They quickly put things together, striking for six runs in their final three innings for a 7-4 win over the Aces to close out their home stand with a 7-1 record.
“I think we just never stopped fighting and continued to battle back,” said Rainiers shortstop Nick Franklin, who was the catalyst at the top of the lineup by going 2-for-3 with two doubles and three runs scored. “It was just a matter of time until we would get to (Delgado). We were all talking about what he was throwing. I think that was the biggest key, just knowing what he was going to try to do to us.”
Center fielder Corey Patterson – who was making his first appearance for Tacoma this season after arriving from extended spring training in Arizona – smashed a game-winning two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the seventh that put the Rainiers up 5-3.
“I was thinking about him bunting there…they were playing him back,” said Rainiers manager John Stearns, who took over for the promoted Daren Brown on May 2. “I’m glad I didn’t put that sign on.”
That would end up giving the win to Rainiers starter Andrew Carraway, who overcame a rocky start in which he gave up a two-run homer to the Aces’ Matt Davidson in the first inning for a quick 2-0 deficit. But Carraway shut Reno down the rest of the way, allowing just three runs in seven innings, with one walk and two strikeouts to pick up the win.
“It was really satisfying to me, because he battled his butt off for seven innings and kept us in the game,” Stearns said. “He was the key to the game today.”
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth, left fielder Stefen Romero plated Franklin with a single into left, and later came around to score on Mike Zunino’s sacrifice fly to tie it up.
Franklin then laced a double to left center with two outs in the seventh, breaking out of a 1-for-19 slump in the previous five games.
“I was hitting it right at them this whole series,” Franklin said. “That’s baseball, it’s going to happen. I’ve just tried to stick to my approach, not change anything and let things happen.”
Patterson followed with his blast that landed well beyond the right field wall, and Carlos Peguero launched an opposite field two-run homer into the Rainiers’ bullpen for some insurance runs in the eighth inning.
With the team winning three of four games to that point since he took over and remaining in first place with a 21-11 record, Stearns noted that his job is to just make the right moves. “They make it easy,” he said. “If I can just get the right guys where they are supposed to be, these guys usually deliver. This is a fun team.”