TUCSON, Ariz. – James Paxton recorded his first career shutout as the Tacoma Rainiers blanked the Tucson Padres 7-0 at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium on Monday night.
Paxton limited the Padres to five hits - all singles - and walked two with four strikeouts over a career-high nine innings of work. He had previously not thrown more than seven innings in any start since making his professional debut in 2011.
The 24-year-old is the first Rainiers pitcher to toss a nine-inning shutout since fellow left-hander Chris Seddon blanked Colorado Springs through nine frames on June 15, 2010.
Stefen Romero went 3-for-4 and drove in five runs to lead the Rainiers at the plate. The outfielder gave Tacoma an early 1-0 edge with a one-out RBI single in the first inning. He stretched the team’s 3-0 lead to seven runs after belting his second grand slam of the season with one out in the seventh.
Romero has now hit safely in a season-high eight consecutive games. He has batted .441 (15x34) with six runs scored, three doubles, one home run and 11 RBI since July 1.
The Rainiers lineup combined to collect 12 hits on Monday. Carlos Peguero went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored, and Abraham Almonte and Scott Savastano each turned in two-hit efforts.
At 54-38, Tacoma boasts the best record in the Pacific Coast League and owns a four-game lead over the Salt Lake Bees for first place in the Pacific Northern Division.
The Rainiers play the second game of a three-game series at Tucson (50-41) at 7:05 p.m. tomorrow, July 9. Tacoma is expected to start right-hander Andrew Carraway (6-2, 3.41) against Padres right-hander Burch Smith (3-1, 2.57).
Every Rainiers game throughout the 2013 season can be heard live on South Sound Sports 850-AM and is available for online streaming at www.tacomarainiers.com.
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