TACOMA, Washington – Josh Lucas came on in the bottom of the ninth and stranded the bases loaded to pick up his 11th save of the season and preserve a 5-4 Memphis Redbirds win over the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) Friday night in Tacoma, Wash.
With the win, first-place Memphis guarantees a 25th-straight series win or tie, dating back to losing three-of-four games at Colorado Springs from April 18-21. The Redbirds are now 73-38 on the season, setting a new season high-water mark at 35 games over .500. Memphis has won 27 of its last 34 games.
John Gant started and struck out seven in 6.0 innings of work, allowing four runs on six hits while walking just one. Ryan Sherriff was tremendous in relief of Gant, striking out five in 2.1 perfect innings, including the side in the eighth and the only batter he faced in the ninth.
Sherriff gave way to Lucas, who gave up two quick singles to put the winning run on first base with one out. A groundout moved the runners to second and third and an intentional walk loaded the bases, but Lucas got a strikeout to end the ballgame.
On the offensive side, Nick Martini was 3-for-5 with an RBI, extending his hitting streak to seven games, and Tyler O’Neill homered against his former team to mark the seventh-straight game a Redbird has homered, setting a new season-high streak.
Neither team scored after the top of the fourth, when Memphis turned a 4-2 deficit into the eventual final score of 5-4 with three runs.
The Redbirds and Tacoma are back in action tonight at 9:05 (CT) before concluding the series, and Memphis’ eight-game, nine-day road trip, Sunday at 3:35 p.m. (CT).