TACOMA- When Tacoma manager Dan Rohn went to the mound in the seventh and final regularly scheduled inning to get left-handed starting pitcher Bryan Ward, it's a safe bet that he wasn't planning on winning the game in extra innings due to a throwing error by a Portland pitcher.
But that is precisely what happened, leading the Rainiers to a 3-2 win in the first game of Thursday's double-header with the Portland Beavers. The victory moved the Rainiers 1.5 games ahead of Portland in the Pacific Coast League's North Division race, heading into the nightcap of the twinbill.
With one out and nobody on in the top of the seventh and the Rainiers leading 2-1, Rohn signaled to the pen for right-handed reliever Bill Simas. The former Chicago White Sox middle reliever came in with one job. Get two outs.
The second pitch he threw to Beavers catcher Miguel Ojeda was sent over the left field wall to tie the game at two. And to make matters worse, Simas then gave up a double and a walk and forced Rohn to call on left-hander Randy Williams to get out of the jam.
Tacoma got on the board first when A.J. Zapp took former Tacoma Rainier right-hander Brian Sweeney deep for his career-best 27th home run. The solo blast sailed over the wall in left-center field and handed Bryan Ward a 1-0 lead.
Rainiers 3B Greg Dobbs made it 2-0 with an RBI single in the fourth that scored A.J. Zapp.
The score stayed that way until John Knott hit a solo blast to left field in the fifth inning, cutting the lead in half heading into the seventh.
Ward was still cruising, however, and went into the final inning in total control of the game having allowed just two hits while striking out four.
After Simas allowed the game-tying home run, Tacoma went quietly in their half of the seventh, sending the game into extra frames.
After Zapp drew a one-out walk in the home half of the eighth, and after Pat Borders tapped back to the pitcher, Dobbs stepped to the dish facing left-hand relief ace Eddie Oropesa.
Dobbs tapped back to the pitcher for what should have been the third out of the inning, but that was hardly the case. Oropesa fielded the slow roller cleanly, but threw the ball wide of first and down the right field line. Zapp easily scored the winning run all the way from second base.
Williams went 1.2 innings and picked up his seventh win on the year, allowing one hit and striking out two. Simas failed to record an out, yielding two hits, an earned run and a walk.
Rainiers Luck Into 3-2 Win
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