Rainiers Lose Epic Slugfest

Last night’s game was the sort of PCL game you might see in one of the league’s great hitter’s ballparks: Las Vegas, or Sale Lake, or Reno, or Colorado Springs.

But you just don’t expect to see a 40-hit, 11-homer, 17-12 slugfest at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium.

There was a very strong wind blowing out to right-center all night long, and that wind certainly was a big factor. But many of the homers were crushed, and this would have been a high-scoring game under normal conditions, too.

With so much to talk about in Portland’s victory, we’ll do bullet points:

  • First of all, here is the box score.
  • The 7 homers is the most Tacoma has hit in one game as far back as our records go – through the 1995 season.
  • The PCL record for most HRs in a game is 10, set by Phoenix at Sacramento in 1974.*
  • We do not know Tacoma’s franchise record for most HRs in a game going back to 1960, but we do know that the Tacoma Twins hit seven at Sacramento on August 6, 1974.
  • There is no official PCL record listed for Most Home Runs In A Loss – but the major league record is seven, done just two times in history, both by the Detroit Tigers.
  • Tacoma currently leads the PCL with 163 home runs – four more than Las Vegas.
  • Greg Halman became the fifth player in Tacoma franchise history to hit 30 homers in a season, and the first since Dan Rohrmeier hit 33 in 1997. Adrian Garrett’s 1971 Tacoma record of 43 home runs in a season is safe.
  • Mike Carp’s second home run hit the front fence of the tennis courts at Foss High School**
  • Tug Hulett went 5-for-6, becoming the first Rainiers player to have five hits in a game this season. Jerry Owens went 6-for-7 in a 12-inning game on August 25 last year; he was the last Tacoma player to get five hits in a game.
  • Portland’s Cedric Hunter went 5-for-6 with two homers and eight RBI. Both of his homers were three-run shots. He had hit one home run in his previous 215 at-bats.
  • Portland starter Josh Geer allowed five home runs, raising his season total to 28 homers allowed – second-highest in the PCL. Former Rainiers pitcher Gaby Hernandez – now with Omaha – has served up 31 dingers.
  • Michael Pineda was hit hard for the second straight start. His velocity was there – I’m not sure what’s wrong with him. He may make one more start, or he might be shut down now – it’s up to Jaime Navarro, Carl Willis, and Pedro Grifol to decide.
  • Levale Speigner pitched 2.1 shutout innings. To my knowledge, the Hall of Fame has not contacted him to get his uniform or glove from that performance, but they should.

Obviously, it was a crazy game. What is in store for us tonight? Gametime is set for 7:05, and it will be televised live on Comcast Sportsnet, with the simulcast airing on 850 AM and streaming via www.tacomarainiers.com. Jeff Heaverlo will join me in the booth. Tacoma starts LHP Ryan Feierabend (3-6, 5.47) against Portland LHP Cesar Ramos (5-6, 3.26).

Tacoma still leads the division by 2.5 games over Salt Lake, which got mauled in Colorado Springs last night. The Bees have lost 8 of their last 9 games and fallen under the .500 mark. Tacoma’s “magic number” to clinch the division is nine – with 11 games to play.

Now for the links:

  • Here is the Rainiers game story from Ryan Divish, who made a rare appearance at Cheney Stadium only to catch a 3 hour, 43-minute game.
  • Salt Lake is struggling.
  • Fresno beat Sacramento last night, 3-2, and now leads the South by two games. Sacramento manager Tony DeFrancesco is not used to being in second place this late in the season. That link on Tony D is a good story – hey, he likes Neil Young, who knew?
  • Iowa held off Omaha last night, they are in a tight division race.
  • I am saddened about the passing of Cal McLish, who worked as a Mariners minor league pitching instructor in recent years. McLish was a joy to be around, and he was always willing to share stories about baseball in the 1940s and 1950s. McLish was also a big influence on younger pitching coaches – former Rainiers pitching coaches Jim Slaton and Dwight Bernard both told me that McLish helped shape their post-playing careers. Even in his early 80s, McLish would stay awake deep into the night talking baseball with Rainiers players, coaches, and radio guys.
  • The big news of the day: Stephen Strasburg needs ‘Tommy John’ surgery and is out for 12-to-18 months.
  • With Cliff Lee struggling in Texas, Larry Stone wrote an interesting piece on the pitchers who were traded at the deadline.
  • Colorado Springs trainer Heath Townsend won the PCL Trainer of the Year award (yes, that exists). In related news Tacoma’s Jeremy Clipperton won the PCL Assistant Trainer of the Year award.***
  • Here is this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet, which includes Mariners prospects Nick Franklin (Hot!) and Michael Pineda (Not Hot!).
  • Rainiers reliever Steven Shell was featured in the Tacoma Weekly.

Off to the ballpark – will it be another slugfest? Or are we due for a 1-0 game? Hopefully it won’t be as windy.

* this is an asterisked record in the PCL book, as are all HR records set at Sacramento in the mid-1970s, because the ballpark had very short dimensions.

** Bryan LaHair homered onto the tennis court last season, the only time that has happened in my 12 years here.

*** Clipperton is the only Assistant Trainer in the PCL; he’s got a lock-down on the award for years to come.

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9 Responses to Rainiers Lose Epic Slugfest

  1. Michael says:

    Did last night set the record for total home runs in a game? Or the most home runs hit at Cheney in one game? Pretty cool part of the last homestand at the old place.

  2. Tim Grubbs says:

    Congrats to Jeremy! Thats a great honour and well deserved

  3. Michael says:

    hey mike
    you know why jerry owens in on DL for Triple A team for Nationals and why hasn’t he play all season???

  4. Ben! says:

    I really enjoy the TV broadcasts that you do on CSN, but pleaseee be in HD next year with the new stadium opening !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. stan says:

    Mike, just wanted to say thanks for keeping this blog going throughout the season. I’ve enjoyed your posts and your links. I hope you will keep it going in the off season too. There should be plenty of news with the stadium construction ongoing. You could add to the baseball news with some posts about college football and basketball. I know the season is not over yet, but I just wanted to lobby to keep this site active after the last pitch is thrown.

  6. Mike Curto says:

    Thanks Stan. This blog will continue during the off-season, but updates will be once or twice a week – when something happens worth noting. I will cover the PCL playoffs regardless how long the Rainiers stay in them. And I’ll try to post some photos of interesting parts of the stadium renovation. But I’m not going to write college football or basketball becuase if I turn this into a Cal sports blog, I’m pretty sure it will get shut down by my very green, Duck-billed boss.

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