TACOMA, Wash. – James Paxton turned in a solid start and Michael Morse homered in his return to Cheney Stadium as the Tacoma Rainiers topped the Tucson Padres 4-2 on Monday.
Paxton limited Tucson to one run on four hits over six innings on the way to collecting his seventh win this season. The left-hander struck out seven batters without issuing a walk in his team-leading 20th start for the Rainiers.
Morse, in the first game of a Major League rehab assignment with Tacoma, belted a two-run home run in his first at-bat to give the Rainiers an early 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The outfielder played in 248 games over parts of four seasons with the Rainiers from 2005-09. He has now homered in three consecutive games with Tacoma dating back to his most recent stint with the Rainiers in 2009.
Tacoma’s lead stretched to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Jesus Montero scored from second base after outfielder Jaff Decker committed an error fielding a single hit by Stefen Romero. Catcher Brandon Bantz added another with a ground out that plated Romero.
Reliever Stephen Pryor, who is also on a Major League rehab assignment with the Rainiers, struck out one over a shutout inning of work in the seventh. Right-hander Logan Bawcom picked up his team-leading 17th save after striking out two over one scoreless frame in the ninth.
Tacoma remains in a first-place with the Salt Lake Bees atop the Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division standings.
The Rainiers host the second game of a four-game series with Tucson (54-49) at 7:05 p.m. tomorrow, July 23. Right-hander Andrew Carraway (6-3, 4.32) is slated to start for Tacoma against Padres left-hander Jason Lane (0-0, -.--).
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.
To purchase season tickets, group packages or party decks for the 2013 season, call (253) 752-7707 or email email@example.com. Up-to-date news and notes throughout the season can be found at www.tacomarainiers.com and by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand) or liking the team on Facebook.