The 51s wore camouflage uniforms Monday in honor of Memorial Day, but the design couldn’t hide another poor display of defense by Las Vegas.
The Pacific Coast League leaders in errors, with 64 in 52 games, the 51s committed three errors in the last two innings, allowing the Rainiers to score four unearned runs en route to a 7-4 victory at Cashman Field.
Backed by a strong start by left-hander Brad Mills, Las Vegas carried a 3-1 lead into the top of the eighth. But then things went awry.
Ezequiel Carrera reached base on an error by third baseman Brian Dopirak, who bobbled the grounder before throwing wide of first base. Dopirak, a first baseman/designated hitter, was pressed into duty at third for the first time in his career after Kyle Phillips left the game in the fourth inning with an oblique injury.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Matt Mangini tagged a three-run triple to give Tacoma a 4-3 lead. Las Vegas left fielder Chris Lubanski dived but couldn’t make the catch.
The 51s (21-31) tied the game in the eighth when Rainiers shortstop Chris Woodward booted a bases-loaded grounder by Luis Figueroa with two outs, letting Raul Chavez to score. Chris Aguila lined out to short to end the threat.
Tacoma’s Jeffrey Dominguez led off the ninth with an unusual triple. He hit a high chopper to first that took a hard right and darted past 51s first baseman Brett Wallace down the right-field line.
“It hit something. It had spin on it and it shot dead left on (Wallace),” 51s manager Dan Rohn said. “There’s not much he can do about it.”
Woodward followed with a chopper that bounced over Dopirak into left field for an RBI double to give Tacoma a 5-4 lead. The Rainiers (24-24) added two more runs on two errors by 51s shortstop Jonathan Diaz, who was called up Monday from Double-A New Hampshire.
Woodward advanced to third on Carrera’s sacrifice bunt and scored when Diaz cleanly fielded a ground ball by Thomas Everidge, looked Woodward back to third, then made a bad throw to first.
Tacoma made it 7-4 when Diaz misplayed a potential double-play ground ball by Guillermo Quiroz.
Chad Cordero struck out the side in the ninth for the Rainiers, who won three of four from Las Vegas.
Mills (4-3) took a no-hitter into the fifth before giving up a one-out homer to Mangini. He allowed two hits in seven innings, walked five and struck out five.
“Millsy pitched great,” Rohn said. “If we get a break here and there, we win the ballgame. Otherwise we don’t.”
Adam Calderone, also promoted from Double-A New Hampshire, had three hits, including a homer, and three runs.
■ NOTES — The 51s placed Jesus Merchan and Aaron Mathews on the disabled list with pulled groins, and lost Phillips and Jarrett Hoffpauir to oblique injuries Monday.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.TACOMA — 7 LAS VEGAS — 4
KEY: The Rainiers scored three unearned runs in the eighth inning to take a 4-3 lead and added another in the ninth.
NEXT: Fresno Grizzlies (RHP Kevin Pucetas) at 51s (RHP Jesse Litsch), 7:05 p.m. today, KBAD-AM (920)