Touted pitching prospect Logan Gilbert held El Paso’s bats in check during his Triple-A debut on Thursday, allowing 1 run over 5 innings as the Tacoma Rainiers bested ace MacKenzie Gore and the Chihuahuas at Cheney Stadium, 8-2. Shortstop Donovan Walton ignited Tacoma’s offense with a 2-run double as the Rainiers erupted for 8 runs across two innings to claim their first victory since Aug. 31, 2019.
Gilbert (1-0) retired the first six El Paso (1-1) hitters he faced, including three straight strikeouts across the first two innings. After the Chihuahuas plated a third inning run on a two-out bunt single, the No. 28 overall prospect (MLB Pipeline) allowed just one more baserunner and recorded six consecutive outs to end his outing.
El Paso’s starting pitcher and top San Diego Padres prospect MacKenzie Gore (0-1) allowed at least two Tacoma (1-1) baserunners in four separate innings. The Rainiers offense chased the southpaw with no outs in the 5th inning and pushed across 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks.
The Chihuahuas took the first lead on a two-out bunt single from shortstop Tucupita Marcano. The Rainiers responded with a 3-run 5th inning starting with Walton’s two-bagger that put Tacoma ahead. Designated hitter Eric Filia scored Walton on a sacrifice fly to extend the lead, 3-1.
Tacoma put an emphatic stamp on the victory with a 5-run 6th inning. Left fielder Jarred Kelenic slotted a single through the 6-hole to start the rally. First baseman Sam Travis widened the gap to 8-1 when he hammered a double into the right field corner and plated two more Rainiers.
Walton led Tacoma with a 2-for-4 effort including 3 RBI and a pair of runs. Kelenic recorded his second straight 2-hit game and scored twice, while first baseman Sam Travis collected his first two knocks of the campaign. Center fielder Braden Bishop went hitless but scored a pair of runs in the victory.
Left-hander reliever Ben Onyshko (H, 1), and righties Jimmy Yacabonis and Ryan Dull combined to allow 4 hits and 1 run as the Rainiers bullpen stymied the El Paso offense to end the game. Yacabonis halted a potential 7th inning rally after coming on to record a strikeout and escape a bases-loaded jam.
The Rainiers and Chihuahuas will continue their series Saturday at 5:05 p.m. PT from Cheney Stadium. Fans in attendance can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine in R Bar while watching the game. The Rainiers will provide free snacks and cold drinks to those who receive their shot. No appointment necessary.
Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto will have full coverage on TacomaRainiers.com. All 2021 Rainiers games, home and away, can also be heard for free on the MiLB First Pitch app. HD video broadcasts of every home game can be viewed with an MiLB.TV subscription. (Use code: RAINIERS to save $10 on an annual subscription.)