Late Night Heroics

Fireworks at midnight? Sure!

The Rainiers beat Salt Lake in a very late game on Friday night, picking up an 8-7 victory on Jose Yepez’s bottom of the ninth, two-out game-winning RBI single at 11:40 pm.

The fireworks show started five minutes later.

We had an hour-long rain delay before the first pitch (memo to Mother Nature: it’s July; take a break), so the game didn’t start until 8:05.

After the rain delay, the game slogged along with both teams playing at a snail’s pace – but the tight score kept it very interesting throughout.

Tacoma went up 3-0 on Mike Carp’s three-run homer in the first inning.

Salt Lake put four runs on the scoreboard in the third, taking advantage of back-to-back walks issued by Tacoma starter Nate Robertson to begin the rally.

The Rainiers tied it up with a run in the fourth, and it was 4-4 going to the sixth.

The Bees scored three runs in the top of the sixth to take a 7-4 lead. The third and final run scored on a balk called against Rainiers reliever Josh Fields, which led to the ejection of Tacoma manager Daren Brown.

Brown’s hat toss was measured at 22 feet, 4 inches – nowhere near his personal best.

The Rainiers got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth when Alex Liddi pulled a homer down the left field line to make it 7-6.

Then we had good relief pitching from Fields, Scott Patterson, and Salt Lake relievers Ryan Brasier and Horacio Ramirez (!).

Trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth, Liddi led off the inning by driving a 2-2 fastball from power reliever Kevin Jepsen over the fence in right-center for his second homer of the game, tying the score at 7-7.

This was a good homer for Liddi, not just because it tied the game: he went to the opposite field, on a mid-90s fastball from a pitcher with a major league pedigree.

The rally continued. Mike Carp singled solidly to right, and he took second on a passed ball with one out. Carp was still at second with two outs when Jepsen intentionally walked Johan Limonta to face the right-handed Jose Yepez.

Yepez came through in the clutch, grounding a single straight through the middle of the diamond to score Carp and give Tacoma the 8-7 walk-off win.

Tacoma (46-47) has won two straight, and 13 of the last 19 games. The Rainiers can reach the elusive .500 mark with a win tonight.

Salt Lake (39-54) has lost seven in a row.

Tonight’s game is at Cheney Stadium at 7:05, and you can hear it on 850 AM or streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Luke French (5-6, 5.90) against Salt Lake RHP Eric Junge (5-6, 5.27).

Links:

  • Normally we lead off with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune – but it’s not on their website. This might be because the game ended at 11:40 pm – over an hour past the TNT’s print deadline.
  • The News Tribune may not have been there, but The Weekly Volcano was at the game and they stayed until the end. Way to show us something, Volcano.
  • The Mariners haven’t scored in quite a while. Not coincidentally, they haven’t won in a while, either.
  • I guess it was inevitable, wasn’t it? David Aardsma needs “Tommy John” surgery. Hopefully he’ll make a brisk comeback and will be ready to go at this time next year.
  • In the PCL, the Reno Aces keep winning and they maintain a ten-game lead over Tacoma. Here’s some good news, Rainiers fans: Reno #1 starter Barry Enright was promoted to Arizona, and it looks like it’s not temporary.
  • Jai Miller is certainly hot for Sacramento, but the River Cats have lost 11 of their last 15 games. Yet they swept second-place Vegas during that stretch, so they still have an ample lead. Fresno beat Sacramento in the tenth inning yesterday.
  • And we thought we had a late night: In Nashville, the Sounds and Albuquerque didn’t start until after nine PM due to rain, and then the game got suspended after 11 innings due to the PCL curfew rule: no inning can begin after 12:50 AM.
  • Memphis split a doubleheader with Round Rock in a battle between top American Conference teams.
  • The Cubs prospects who were just promoted to Iowa helped them end an eight-game losing streak yesterday. Yup, Brett Jackson is a Cal Bear.
  • New Orleans won its sixth in a row and Jose Lopez launched a three-run homer.
  • It’s true: 7-Eleven is embarking upon a hostile takeover of Tacoma. They’re popping up all over the place!

A giant baseball pouring three different kinds of beer? Yes, please!

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