Tacoma's French Stifles Beavers in 2-1 Win
PORTLAND, Ore. - Luke French pitched eight impressive innings and Brad Nelson's sixth-inning home run was the difference in the Tacoma Rainiers' 2-1 win over the Portland Beavers at PGE Park on Thursday night.
French (4-0), who entered the contest with the Pacific Coast League's second-lowest ERA at 1.41, lowered the mark even further, giving up one run on five hits and three walks. He struck out three.
Matt Tuiasosopo reached base four times on a single and three walks and Nelson logged his second home run of the season for Tacoma (12-13), who took three-of-four in the series and have won 12 of the last 13 meetings with the Beavers (11-16), dating back to July 10, 2009.
Cesar Ramos was able to work around five hits and four walks and allow just one run in five innings, but fell to 0-2 for the season.
Portland's Sean Kazmar had two hits in the losing cause.
The Rainiers had plenty of runners on base early, but could not cash in, stranding six over the first three innings.
They finally broke through in the fifth, as Tuiasosopo and Jack Hannahan started the frame with singles. A wild pitch by Ramos moved the runners into scoring position and Tuiasosopo scored the first run of the game on Mike Carp's sacrifice fly to center.
Ramos was relieved after five innings by right-hander Matt Buschmann, who joined the Beavers from Class AA San Antonio on Tuesday. Nelson greeted him with an opposite-field home run off the brick wall behind the left field fence in the sixth to push the Rainiers' lead to 2-0.
Portland was able to cut Tacoma's advantage in half in the sixth, when Chris Denorfia walked, then went from first to third on a wild pitch by French. Craig Cooper cashed in the scoring chance with an RBI groundout and his team-leading 17th RBI.
Chad Cordero struck out the three batters he faced in the ninth for his third save.
The Beavers start a four-game series with the Reno Aces at PGE Park on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. (Pacific).
NOTES: Buschmann spent the first half of the 2009 season as a member of the Beavers' starting rotation ... French displayed his defense in the eighth inning, diving at and swatting a bunted groundball by Luis Durango right to first baseman Mike Carp for the out ... Tacoma was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position ... the Beavers scored just nine runs in the four-game series.
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