Five Run Third Sinks Las Vegas 51s, 5-4
For four innings Monday night Las Vegas 51s starter Darin Gorski was lights out. Unfortunately for the left-hander, he pitched in five innings. One inning on the night proved to be his undoing as the Tacoma Rainiers scored five in the third and held on for the 5-4 victory at home.
Right-hander Sam Gaviglio started for the Tacoma Rainiers and he cruised through the first three innings. He retired the first nine 51s’ batters in order, striking out five along the way, including the first three hitters of the game.
Gorski was proving to be equally effective in the first and second frames. He retired all six batters he faced, striking out two Rainiers hitters. In the third the wheels seemed to come off, and it was the long ball that did him in.
The Las Vegas starter retired the first hitter of the inning, then gave up a soft grounder to Shawn O’Malley that Danny Muno was not able to make a play on. Leury Bonilla followed by lining out, and the inning should have been over had O’Malley hit the ball slightly harder. They say baseball is a game of inches, and that proved to be true on this occasion.
O’Malley stole second base with Austin Jackson at the plate, and Jackson eventually drew a walk. Ketel Marte stepped to the plate and drove a deep fly ball over the left field fence for a three-run home run. It was Marte’s second home run of the season. Gorski was laboring and, unfortunately for him, the inning was not over yet. Stefen Romero followed with a lined single to right field which brought Jesus Montero to the plate. Montero crushed a Gorski offering over the left-center field fence to make it 5-0. Gorski finally recorded the final out, but the damage was done.
Down five the Las Vegas 51s responded with a run in the top of the fourth. Darrell Ceciliani tripled to lead off the inning, and scored when T.J. Rivera singled. For Rivera it was his first RBI since joining the 51s.
In the bottom half of fourth Gorski returned and he regained his form. After giving up a lead-off double, the Las Vegas starter struck out the next two batters before getting a pop to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth the visitors plated three to cut the deficit to a single run. Brooks Conrad led off with a walk, and Brandon Allen followed with his eighth double of the season, moving Conrad to third. A wild pitch scored Conrad, and Travis Taijeron doubled to score Allen, making the score 5-3. Taijeron moved to third on a ground out, and scored when Dan Rohlfing lined a single to center field.
The Rainiers grabbed the early lead, but the Las Vegas 51s were battling back. Unfortunately Taijeron’s run would be the last run either team could muster. Gorski gave up a walk to start the fifth, but then retired the next three batters. He was pulled after the fifth, allowing 5 hits, 2 walks and 5 runs, while striking out 4. John Church took over in the sixth and pitched two perfect innings for Las Vegas. Zach Thornton pitched a perfect eighth.
The three runs in the fifth were the last runs that Gaviglio would allow as well. His day ended after the sixth inning. The righty allowed 5 hits, a walk and 4 earned runs. He also struck out 9 batters and threw 55 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
Logan Bawcom came on in the seventh and pitched two scoreless innings. Mayckol Guaipe gave up a hit in the ninth, but he retired the side for his third save. Gaviglio (3-3) earned the win, while Gorski (3-3) took the loss.
By Robert Pannier