It took longer than anyone expected, but the Rainiers picked up their first win at the new Cheney Stadium with a 4-3 win over Colorado Springs last night.
The victory – spurred by a seventh-inning rally – ended a six-game losing streak that included the first five home games of the season.
Tacoma trailed 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, but had runners at first and third with one out. Colorado Springs brought in flame-throwing left-handed reliever Rex Brothers to try to escape the jam.
Josh Bard and Johan Limonta had other ideas. Bard lined a single to center to tie the game, and Limonta followed with a smash past the third baseman to drive in the go-ahead run.
The Rainiers bullpen finished it off, with Chris Smith looking particularly impressive as he recorded the final five outs to earn the save.
Bard now has an 11-game hitting streak, and Dustin Ackley has a 9-gamer. Alex Liddi went 2-for-2 with two sac flies and two RBI last night.
Let’s see if the Rainiers can start a winning streak tonight. Game time is 7:05 (broadcast on 850 AM and streaming online). Tacoma starts LHP Fabio Castro (0-0, 3.00) against Sky Sox LHP Josh Muecke (0-2, 6.75).
It’s the first Tasty Thursday of the season, and you know what that means: $2 Miller beers on the Tasty Terrace, and $1 hot dogs, coffee, and ice cream all around the park. It’s about as inexpensive a night at the ballpark can get.
Roster Notes: Tacoma added outfielder Brandon Haveman from Class-AA Jackson, and he started last night’s game in center field going 1-for-4 in his Triple-A debut. A former Big-10 Conference batting title winner at Purdue, Haveman is in just his second full professional season. Look for him to see a lot of time in center.
Elsewhere in the Mariners organization, slugging Venezuelan Luis Jimenez – who I thought had a chance to make the Rainiers opening day roster – is finally healthy and reported to Class-AA Jackson yesterday. He went 2-for-5 in his first game. Jimenez missed almost all of spring training with a groin injury, essentially ending his chances for a Triple-A assignment to start the season. We might see him down the road.
Ex-Rainiers (and Mariners) Alert: Colorado Springs has reliever Sean White in the bullpen, and Eliezer Alfonzo is with the team but not on the active roster. I talked to Alfonzo yesterday and he’s healthy but the team doesn’t have room on the roster right now. That can be a really frustrating situation for a player, but Alfonzo was in good spirits.
- Here is the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- Dustin Ackley did a live chat for the Seattle Times yesterday – you can read the recap. You guys asked some good questions, I even learned a thing or two. I had no idea he was a Cardinals fan growing up.
- Carlos Peguero’s first major league start wasn’t exactly a “soft landing.” Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times wrote about his debut.
- Ex-Rainiers pitcher David Pauley is off to a good start out of the Mariners bullpen.
- In the PCL, Las Vegas starter Michael MacDonald is a threat to fans hoping for a lengthy “Dollar Beer Night.” Salt Lake beat the 51s in ten innings last night.
- Vegas outfielder and B.C. native Adam Loewen used to be a major league pitcher. This is a good story about the transition.
- Sacramento’s Jai Miller hit two home runs and had five RBI to help the River Kittens crush Reno, 14-7.
- The Giants optioned Brandon Belt to Fresno and he should report today. The Grizzlies need the help – they’ve lost five in a row.
- The Tucson Padres players had to pool their money to buy furniture for the clubhouse. Can’t wait for my buddy Johnny Doskow to roll in there and beat them all at ping pong.
- Albuquerque’s John Ely came one out away from a no-hitter last night in Iowa. Marquez Smith broke it up with a double.
- New Orleans had only two hits but they were both home runs and the Zephyrs beat Nashville, 2-1. Tom Koehler is now 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA after three starts.
- Omaha’s Clint Robinson went 4-for-4 and the Storm Chasers blasted Memphis, 10-4. Also, in the headline we see the short-form of Omaha’s new nickname: Chasers.
In my lengthy career in the minor leagues, I have received hundreds of promotional items. I’ve been to hat night and bat night and magnet schedule giveaway day and team poster night and foam finger day and t-shirt night and even Shin Soo Choo-Choo toy train day. But never, in my entire career, have I been given a free tree. This will change on Monday night in Salt Lake City.