Miller Flashes Tools in Rainiers Victory against Fresno in Opener
Tacoma, WA - Ian Miller mashed his fourth home run, provided 5 RBI, stole two bases and scored a pair of runs in a 4-for-5 effort on Tuesday night at Cheney Stadium as the Tacoma Rainiers erased a three-run hole to best the Fresno Grizzlies in the four-game series opener, 12-3.
With Fresno (23-22) leading, 3-0, and Braden Bishop at the plate, Miller stole second base in the bottom of the third. Later in the at-bat, Miller broke for third and the caught stealing attempt sailed into left field, allowing him to score Tacoma's (22-24) first run.
Austin Nola roped his first triple of the season in the same inning, scoring Kyle Seager and Ryan Court to tie the game at three apiece.
The Rainiers took their first lead in the fourth inning when Miller blasted his fourth home run over the right field wall, a two-run shot that also scored Chris Mariscal who reached on his first career Triple-A hit.
Tacoma put the game out of reach with a three-run sixth inning, starting with an opposite field round-tripper from Jose Lobaton. Seager singled home Kristopher Negron in the inning for a five-run advantage.
Miller struck again in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run knock that plated Nola and Negron. The 27-year-old added his fifth RBI in the eighth on his fourth hit of the night. Since May 5 (15 games), the Philadelphia native is hitting at a .419 clip (26-for-62) with 15 RBI, 18 runs, 11 extra-base hits and 8 stolen bases, raising his batting average from .218 to .302.
Right-hander Erik Swanson made his Cheney Stadium debut in the victory, surrendering three runs across the first three frames. Ruben Alaniz (2-1) earned his second victory for his two shutout innings with a strikeout. Rehabbing righties Sam Tuivailala and Gerson Bautista each dealt scoreless innings in their Rainiers debuts. Matt Festa closed out the night with back-to-back hitless frames and ended the game with his second strikeout.
Tacoma has scored double-digit runs in each of their last three victories and five of their last seven wins. Their last three games have been separated by nine or more runs.
The four-game tilt continues on Wednesday at 11:35 a.m. PDT when No. 1 Mariners prospect Justus Sheffield (1-2, 4.38) takes the mound. Mike Curto will have full coverage on South Sound Talk 850 with audio streaming available on the Tacoma Rainiers TuneIn Radio Network.
All tickets, group outings, and suites packages for the 2019 season are available for purchase in person at the Cheney Stadium Box Office, online at TacomaRainiers.com and WeRTacoma.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), Instagram (tacomarainiers) or liking the team on Facebook.
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Ian Miller of the Tacoma Rainiers
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