Shank Slams Rainiers To Victory

Tacoma won the final game in El Paso on Friday night, 11-8, getting an unlikely lift.

Zach Shank lined a pinch-hit grand slam in the top of the fourth inning to give Tacoma a 7-4 lead. The Rainiers led for the remainder of the game.

It was the first pinch-hit home run of any kind for the Rainiers since Luis Rodriguez lined one to right field at Cheney Stadium against Colorado Springs on July 15, 2012.

The last pinch-hit grand slam? Who knows. We hardly ever have pinch-hitters, due to the designated hitter!

The reason Shank was pinch-hitting was because Gordon Beckham left the game after getting hit by a pitch on the left forearm in his first at-bat. Beckham stayed in the game, batted one more time, and then came out. We’ll get an update on his status later today.

It was the first home run of the season for Shank, who hit three for Tacoma last year. His career high for homers in a season is ten, at the Class-A level. Shank does a lot of things to help the Rainiers win, but the pinch-hit grand slam was a huge surprise.

Tacoma won despite losing scheduled starting pitcher Chase De Jong to a call-up. Brett Ash was promoted from Arkansas, and he ended up earning the win in relief in his Triple-A debut. Ash allowed four runs in 3.2 innings, but Shank’s slam gave him a lead to work with.

Ash was a 12-game winner at Double-A Jackson last year. He was 1-1, 3.00 for Arkansas in two appearances this season.

With De Jong gone, the team has to decide if it wants to put Ryan Weber back into the rotation, or have Ash fill the spot.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma got a big lift when Zach Shank hit a go-ahead, pinch-hit grand slam in the fourth inning and went on to beat El Paso, 11-8. Boog Powell and Dario Pizzano each reached base four times in the win. The Rainiers split the four-game series.

Roster Moves: Yesterday starter Chase De Jong was called up by Seattle, and reliever Dan Altavilla was optioned to Tacoma (he’ll probably report today). Tacoma added pitcher Brett Ash from Double-A Arkansas, and pitcher Rafael Pineda from extended spring training. Catcher Steve Baron was placed on the 7-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday. Finally, rehabilitating Steve Cishek started for Tacoma last night, then returned to Arkansas after the game.

Today: Tacoma (9-6) at Albuquerque (7-9), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 3-0.

Tacoma swept a three-game series from the Isotopes at Cheney Stadium last weekend.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Christian Bergman (2-0, 2.31) at RHP Matt Flemer (1-1, 5.06).

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has hit safely in seven straight games, he has eight RBI over the last three games, and he has reached base via hit or walk in 14 straight games… Ben Gamel has reached in 13 straight games… Tyler Smith has a four-game hitting streak, and he’s hitting .375 (9-for-24) over his last seven games… D.J. Peterson has homered in three of the last five games.

Look Out For: Noel Cuevas has a seven-game hitting streak, and he’s 9-for-17 against left-handed pitchers… catcher Ryan Hanigan has an eight-game hitting streak… Albuquerque did not have outfielder Raimel Tapia in Tacoma last weekend; he’s never faced the Rainiers before but reportedly he can really hit.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

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