Tacoma swept the doubleheader from Salt Lake last night, winning the opening game 3-2 in dramatic fashion, and then taking the second game, 7-4. The wins increased Tacoma’s lead over second-place Salt Lake to four games, with one game left between the two teams tonight at 7:05.
The Rainiers trailed the opener 2-1 going into the bottom of the seventh (and final) inning. David Winfree led off with a single, and with one out Greg Halman tripled him home. Salt Lake then intentionally walked the bases loaded to set up a forceout at home, and they got the second out. But Matt Tuiasosopo worked a full count before drawing ball four, forcing in the winning run for the rarely seen walk-off walk.
In game two, the Rainiers scored six runs in the bottom of the second inning, which was more than enough for starter Luke French. French allowed two runs over six innings to raise his record to 8-2 on the year. Matt Mangini had three hits and three RBI in the second game.
So the Rainiers have won four of the first five games of the six-game series, with the final game coming up tonight at 7:00. Tacoma starts LHP Chris Seddon (8-3, 3.43), who is the reigning PCL Pitcher of the Week after his 14 scoreless innings last week. Salt Lake will start LHP Daniel Davidson (6-1, 5.38). It’s another game that will result in a big swing in the standings: if Tacoma wins, they lead by five games. A loss and the lead is down to three.
Tonight’s game will be televised on Comcast Sportsnet – channel 179 on most Comcast Digital systems. We’ll have the simulcast running on 850 AM and www.tacomarainiers.com. Joining me in the booth is former Tacoma Rainiers pitcher Jeff Heaverlo in his TV debut. Heaverlo pitched for Tacoma from 2003-05, and he also pitched for Salt Lake in 2006 – so he might be conflicted (just kidding!). Heaverlo was the Mariners first round draft pick in 1999 out of the University of Washington.
Now for some links:
- Here’s Gail Wood’s story on the doubleheader sweep.
- The Mariners six-game win streak ended in extra innings. Josh Wilson played first base.
- Larry Stone wrote about the fan who caught a foul ball with his beer. Yes, with his beer.
- For espn.com Insiders, here’s another piece on Michael Pineda. Pineda ranks high on this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet. And a Salt Lake Bee made the Not-So-Hot Sheet – aaaaaaahhhhh ha ha ha ha!!!!!!
- Here’s something I never expected: former Rainiers outfielder Prentice Redman has been suspended 50 games for failing a drug test. Amphetamines, they say.
- For Baseball America subscribers, here’s the latest on the Portland situation. Cliff’s Notes: they’re moving, and they’re not coming back.
- It was kind of a quiet day in the PCL, but Brad Eldred made some noise: he homered twice, taking the league-lead with 18, as the Sky Sox downed Reno, 10-5. Colorado Springs is set to keep Jorge De La Rosa for another rehab start.
- Sacramento added a new pitcher up from Double-A and he pitched well in Las Vegas.
- Here’s an update on New Orleans outfielder Cameron Maybin, whom I was certain was going to be a star by now.
- Former Rainiers reliever Justin Thomas was called up to the majors by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- The Everett Aqua Sox have opened the short-season Northwest League with seven consecutive wins. Here’s the low-down from Jay at the USS Mariner.
- You can never go wrong when Vin Scully starts telling stories.
That’s all for today – make sure you check out your first place Rainiers tonight, and stay for the post-game fireworks show.