Smith Home Run Powers Tacoma Past New Orleans, 7-5
TACOMA, Wash. - The Tacoma Rainiers (18-11) offense rallied back early and often to defeat the New Orleans Baby Cakes (11-19), 7-5, Sunday afternoon at Cheney Stadium.
Center fielder Leonys Martin (1x4, 2 RBI) and shortstop Tyler Smith (3x4, 3 RBI) smacked a pair of two-run homers, second baseman Zach Shank (2x3, 1 RBI) tallied two doubles and left fielder Tyler O'Neil added his tenth RBI of the season in the shootout victory.
Tacoma starting pitcher Rob Whalen made his second start of the season Sunday afternoon, allowing four earned runs on five hits while striking out four and adding four walks.
New Orleans took an early lead in the top of the first inning when first baseman Tyler Moore ripped a double down the first base line, scoring catcher Thomas Telis and left fielder Brandon Barnes to give the Baby Cakes a 2-0 advantage.
The Rainiers would rally back in the bottom of the third when Martin crushed a game-tying two-run home run down the right field line, his first of the year.
Two doubles and an RBI single in the top of the next frame regained the lead for the Baby Cakes. Telis doubled over the head of Rainiers right fielder Boog Powell and came around to score when Barnes added an extra-base hit of his own down the left field line. With Barnes in scoring position, Moore tallied his second RBI of the afternoon with a sharp single up the middle of the field, scoring Barnes and giving New Orleans a 4-2 lead.
The offensive showcase continued in the bottom of the fourth, as the Rainiers would mount a two-run comeback of their own. A walk from O'Neil and a single from first baseman D.J. Peterson with no outs gave Tacoma a chance to get back into the game, and Smith would single up the middle to score Peterson and decrease the deficit to one. After right fielder Boog Powell advanced O'Neil to third and Smith to second on a sacrifice bunt, Shank launched a sacrifice fly to right field to knot the score at 4-4.
The Baby Cakes answered with a run in the top half of the sixth but a two-run home run from Smith, his second of the season, in the bottom half regained the lead for Tacoma 6-5.
O'Neil added to the Tacoma lead in the seventh with a sacrifice fly and the Rainiers bullpen tallied three shutout innings to secure the victory. Right-hander Mark Lowe (2-2, 11.45) was credited with the victory.
The Rainiers and Baby Cakes return to action Monday night - first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PT. Right-hander Ryan Weber (1-0, 1.09) will start for Tacoma and New Orleans will send right-hander Stephen Fife (1-1, 5.70) to the mound.
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.
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