Sheffield stifles Dodgers, Lewis homers in Rainiers win
By Alex Benzegala

(Tacoma, WA)

The Tacoma Rainiers made it two in a row against the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Friday night, behind an outstanding pitching performance from starter Justus Sheffield and timely batting to get a 7-3 victory at Cheney Stadium.

Kyle Lewis Photo by Jeff Halstead

It was not the best of starts for the Rainiers, as OKC took the lead in the top of the first inning when Jason Martin hit a two-run home run, his 19th of the season to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. It was all Rainiers from there as Tacoma scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning off former Mariners and Rainiers pitcher Sam Gaviglio, when Kyle Lewis hit a 3-run blast to right field to give the Rainiers a 3-2 lead. According to the Rainiers baseball information department, the Lewis homer was his 7th in his last 10 games, including MLB games for the Mariners. It was also his 5th in a Rainiers uniform in 14 games.

Tacoma picked up right where they left off in the 4th, tagging Gaviglio for 3 more runs to take a commanding 6-2 lead after a pair of RBI singles for Joe Odom and Scott Heineman. Alex Blandino added one more in the inning with a sacrifice fly to score Joe Odom.

That was more than enough run support for Sheffield, who was cooking after the first inning, pitching 5 straight scoreless innings before giving up a run in the top of the 7th off a Rainiers error to cut the lead to 6-3. The veteran left-hander pitched a season high 6 and 2/3 innings and struck out 4 to improve to 3-5 on the season.

Gaviglio took the loss for OKC to fall to 6-4. Tacoma improved to 37-50,  while the Dodgers fell to 51-37.

The Rainiers tied the series with OKC at 2-2 and will send Mariners star pitcher George Kirby to the mound in his highly anticipated Tacoma debut on Saturday evening against the Dodgers. First pitch is at 7:05 from Cheney Stadium.


By paulb

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