It was a nice crowd for a Monday night game, which began on a clear 78 degree evening.
Folks here in Tacoma, Washington enjoyed 93.2% totality during Monday’s solar eclipse. They filed in, filling the park to 5,170 (capacity at about 6,500). Hopefully, everyone had clear vision from staring into the intense sunlight. A few fans, and even Rainiers mascot, “Rhubarb”, donned eclipse glasses for the occasion. Eclipse-themed music played throughout the game such as “Black Hole Sun.” Both teams were wearing their alternate tops, Tacoma with the navy and El Paso with the black and red.
“Chihuahua” by DJ Bobo was played as they announced the El Paso lineup. A name was announced in the Chihuahuas’ lineup for the first time this season. Hunter Renfroe.
The slugging outfielder hit fourth and played right field in his first game since being sent down over the weekend. This was his first game in an El Paso uniform since September 5th of last year. He was sent down after starting August hitting .220 with just two extra base hits and 19 strikeouts in 15 games. Renfroe made Triple-A pitching look silly Monday night. He finished 3-5, reaching base a fourth time on an error. He was a home run shy of the cycle for El Paso, adding an RBI and two runs scored to his stat line.
He started out on the right foot, with a solid single up the middle in the first. Hunter Renfroe then scored from first on a two-run double by Christian Villanueva.
Kyle Lloyd had location issues in Monday’s loss. He went through one inning successfully, but then failed to get another batter out. Lloyd let the first five batters of the second inning reach base before being pulled. He ended up getting tagged for seven earned runs.
Jason Jester came in for his 48th appearance of the season. It was short-lived. He allowed a walk and two hits, the last of which was a Mike Marjama line-drive shot off of the side of his foot. Jester left the game under his own power. Eric Yardley cleaned up the mess and then pitched 3.2 innings, allowing only two walks, no hits, and striking out two.
Jester was not the only one who left early due to an injury. In the first inning, Rainiers shortstop Shawn O’Malley came barreling toward the pitcher’s mound to try to catch a pop fly only to stumble up the mound, slam his head on the turf and land awkwardly on his shoulder.
Renfroe had a nice night offensively. Here is his RBI double in the seventh inning.
— Nick L. (@NickLee51) August 22, 2017
Catcher/pitcher Christian Bethancourt threw two scoreless innings, struck out one, and hit as high as 97 MPH on the gun. Michael Kelly came in and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. After the disastrous 2nd inning, El Paso pitching threw six shutout innings, allowing just one hit.
The Chihuahuas rallied for two runs in the ninth. Tony Cruz and Rafael Ortega led off with singles off of the Brazilian flamethrower, Thyago Vieira. He then retired the next three, with a run-scoring wild pitch mixed in. Renfroe had a chance at the cycle, but he popped up to end the game. El Paso fell to the Rainiers 9-6 in a shootout.
El Paso falls to 64-65, a game back of Salt Lake in the Pacific Southern Division. The Rainiers and Chihuahuas play one more this season, tomorrow at 7:05pm PST. Jordan Lyles makes his fourth start for El Paso after the Padres picked him up upon his release from the Rockies.