Despite holding a one run lead heading into the bottom of the 12th inning, the Oklahoma City Dodgers allowed the Rainiers rally for two runs in the final frame to capture a 5-4 win in front of their home crowd in Cheney Stadium.
The game had been tied, 3-3, since the sixth inning. The Dodgers (53-41) broke the stalemate in the top of the 12th inning. Micah Johnson led off with a double and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Charlie Culberson gave the Dodgers the lead with a RBI single to right field.
Austin Barnes followed with a single to put runners at the corners with none out, but the Dodgers failed to add to the lead. Corey Brown and O’Koyea Dickson both struck out, and Will Venable popped out to end the inning.
The missed opportunity to score again would prove to be crucial. The bottom of the 12th started off with Layne Somsen striking out pinch hitter Luis Sardinas.
Norichika Aoki and Guillermo Heredia each singled with one out. With Rob Brantly at the plate and the count 2-2, home plate umpire Alex Ortiz called a pace of play violation on Somsen (0-2), moving the count to 3-2. Somsen’s full count pitch appeared to catch the inside corner, but it was called ball four instead, loading the bases.
Stefen Romero came up next and hit a ground ball to the shortstop Culberson. The normally sure-handed Culberson mishandled the grounder, as the tying run scored and the bases remained loaded. The next batter, D.J. Peterson, faced a full count and hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield. Johnson was able to make a sliding stop, but he had no play to make, as Peterson’s RBI single allowed the game-winning run to score.
The Rainiers (54-40) have now won seven straight games against Oklahoma City at Cheney Stadium. Of those seven victories, four have come in games OKC led in the seventh inning or later, and five have been in extra innings. The come-from-behind win also moved Tacoma’s current winning streak to a season-best seven games.
The Dodgers have lost three straight games for the first time since June 3. They are now 1-4 on their current road trip and 3-10 in road games against Pacific Conference opponents.
Both teams got the scoring started early in the first inning. In the top of the frame, Barnes blasted a two-run homer to left field, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead on his fourth home run of the season.
The Rainiers got one run back in their first at-bat. Peterson sent a sharp grounder into left field for a RBI single with two outs to pull Tacoma within one run.
Tacoma scored again in the third inning. The Rainiers loaded the bases after a single, a throwing error, and a hit batter. Romero then tied the game with a RBI single. The bases were still loaded with none out, but Trevor Oaks was able to get out of the inning before Tacoma could go in front. Oaks got Peterson to pop out and Dario Pizzano to hit into an inning-ending double play to keep it 2-2.
The Dodgers went back in front in the top of the fourth. With two outs, James Ramsey connected on a solo home run to right field, giving OKC a 3-2 edge.
The Rainiers would pull even again the sixth. Romero led off the inning with a solo home run to left field, making it a 3-3 game.
Tacoma had runners at the corners with one out in the seventh, but Oaks struck out both Heredia and Brantly to keep the game tied.
For the second time in his last three starts, Oaks lasted eight innings. Although he allowed 11 hits, he kept the Rainiers to three runs, only two of which were earned. Oaks induced four ground ball double plays – with one each inning between the second and fifth innings. He finished with 13 groundouts, five strikeouts, and one walk.
The Dodgers left the go-ahead run in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings. Leading up to Culberson’s RBI in the 12th, the Dodgers had been 0 for their previous 10 with runners on base. They finished Monday going just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, leaving 11 runners on base.
In the bottom of the ninth, Matt West struck out each of the first two batters before Tyler Smith singled. On the next play, first baseman Alex Hassan committed a fielding error, moving the winning run into scoring position. But West struck out Heredia to send the game to extra innings.
Grant Dayton pitched both the 10th and 11th innings for OKC. He retired all six batters he faced, with four via strikeout. Dayton was in line for the win until the Rainiers’ comeback.
Instead, it would be Guido Knudson (1-0) picking up his first win since joining Tacoma. He allowed one run and three hits with two strikeouts in the 12th inning.
With the loss, the Dodgers are now 3-7 in extra innings. The Rainiers outhit the Dodgers, 15-13.
The Dodgers look to reverse their fortunes at Cheney Stadium Tuesday night at 9:05 p.m. Central time. Live coverage begins 15 minutes before the scheduled first pitch on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com, or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.