The Tacoma Rainiers were shutout by the New Orleans Zephyrs 2-0 on Tuesday for their second straight loss. They had plenty of opportunities to push runs across the plate, but capitalized on none of them.
Justin Smoak had an especially rough night as he was thrown out at third on a play that would have scored Guillermo Quiroz and later robbed of what might have been his first home run with the Rainiers since his demotion from Seattle on July 24.
He is batting .224 in 15 games with the Rainiers with a .323 slugging percentage — where most people thought his batting average might be.
Here is the game thread.
Andrew Carraway looked sharp the first inning, getting the first two batters to fly out to center field (one thanks to a laid out Mike Wilson) before striking out Chris Coghlan to end the frame.
Nick Franklin started things off for the Rainiers by ripping a single to right field. Carlos Peguero added a single over the head of shortstop Gil Velazquez, but Luis Jimenez grounded out to second for the third out.
Carraway is looking to bounce back from a rough start his previous outing. He lasted just 3.2 innings while suffering his third loss in four games. The Rainiers are 1-6 his past eight starts.
Carraway saw runners reach second and third after a pair of singles and a fielder’s choice, but that’s where they stayed as he got former Rainier Jeff Dominguez to ground out to second.
Jacob Turner was much tougher in the second inning. He sent Vinnie Catricala and Mike WIlson back to the dugout on strikes to quickly cruise through the inning. It’s his third start for the New Orleans Zephyrs after coming to the Marlins organization from Detroit in exchange for Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez.
Carlos Peguero drove in the first run of the game … a split second after the third out of the inning. His single to center scored Guillermo Quiroz from second base, but not before Zephyrs’ centerfielder Kevin Mattison gunned Justin Smoak trying to head from first to third. Smoak was tagged sliding to third just before Quiroz crossed the plate as the inning ended score still tied 0-0.
Andrew Carraway was solid through four innings, allowing just two hits with no walks. But he still hasn’t got much help from the everyday guys.
Carlos Truinfel hit a 2-out double that was barely out of the reach of Zephyrs’ diving right fielder Chris Coglhan. Truinfel reached third on a wild pitch and Mike Wilson walked before the inning ended on Guillermo Quiroz’ fielder’s choice.
Smoak almost had his first home run as a Rainier. Would have had his first homer — If not for an amazing play from Mattison.
Mattison ran, leaped at the wall and said “I don’t think so!” to Smoak’s long ball as he brought it back from the top of the wall and sent Smoak back to the dugout. Alex Liddi did not re-tag second on his way back to first and was called out for the inning-ending 8-3-6 double play.
The Zephyrs were, again, held without a run; so were the Rainiers.
Peguero slapped another single and is 3-for-3 tonight. Jimenez then grounded into a double play before Vinnie Catricala lined a shot over the head of Aguila in left field for a double. But Carlos Truinfel flew out to leave Catricala stranded.
The Zephyrs went down in order so there remains to be much to say about their hitting. But the Rainiers got something going.
Guillermo Quiroz walked and advanced two bases on a pair of wild pitches. He was stranded at third, though, and both Nick Franklin and Alex Liddi went down. The Rainiers have put runners in scoring position in five of the seven innings with nothing to show for it.
New Orleans broke the ice — the Zephyrs got on the board.
It certainly took a strange string of plays to do so. Jeff Dominguez led off with a base hit that was only a hit because Smoak couldn’t flip it to David Pauley from his stomach in time.
Shawn Bowman then sent a sharp grounder to Carlos Truinfel, who tried to get Dominguez at second, but was instead awarded a throwing error as it went off Nick Franklin’s glove and toward first base, allowing Dominguez to reach third.
Mattison flew out to left field, which set up a successful suicide squeeze from Gil Velazquez to bring home the game’s first run — after almost 8 innings of shutout baseball.
The Rainiers did little to respond. Carlos Peguero walked to keep his night at 3-for-3, but was caught stealing and Luis Jimenez struck out to end the threat.
The Zephyrs added another run on Dominguez’ double over the head of Liddi in left. Luke Montz tried to score from first on the play, but Liddi made a strong throw to the cutoff man, Truinfel, who darted Montz out at the plate for the third out. It did little in the end, though, as the Rainiers went down in order the bottom of the ninth to fall 2-0.