Rainiers Earn First Win In Unlikely Fashion

The Rainiers got into the win column on Friday night, staging a remarkable comeback to defeat Salt Lake at Cheney Stadium, 8-7. Both teams are 1-1 on the year.

Tacoma trailed 5-0 after the top of the first inning, 7-1 in the middle of the fourth, and it was 7-3 at the seventh inning stretch.

The Rainiers came alive with a five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to take an 8-7 lead. Here’s how it went:

  • Salt Lake brought in Loek Van Mil to pitch the seventh – he’s the 7-foot-1 guy that I mentioned a few days ago.
  • Mike Wilson opened the inning with a hard line drive single to left.
  • Guillermo Quiroz followed with a nearly identical hit to left, putting runners at 1st and 2nd.
  • Luis Rodriguez doubled to right field, scoring Wilson and leaving runners at 2nd and 3rd. It was 7-4.
  • Trayvon Robinson singled to right field, scoring Quiroz and leaving runners at 1st and 3rd – and now it was 7-5, the tying runners were on base, and Salt Lake pulled Van Mil without him having recorded an out.
  • Reliever Francisco Rodriguez got Carlos Triunfel to pop up for the first out.
  • Next up was Vinnie Catricala, who was having a dreadful game (0-for-3, three K’s) and still looking for his first Triple-A hit. He got it, lining an opposite-field double to right, scoring Rodriguez and leaving runners at 2nd and 3rd. It was 7-6.
  • Salt Lake wanted nothing to do with the scorching-hot Carlos Peguero, so they intentionally walked him to load the bases.
  • Adam Moore was next – he fell behind in the count 0-2 before lifting a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Robinson with the tying run. In an important bit of baserunning, Catricala also tagged from second on that play, advancing to third. Runners were at the corners with two outs and it was 7-7.
  • With Luis Jimenez at the plate, Rodriguez bounced a pitch past catcher Hank Conger toward the backstop – and Catricala dashed home with the go-ahead run.

It was an amazing comeback for the Rainiers first win of the year – and it would not have been possible without the outstanding relief pitching from Charlie Furbush and Shawn Kelley.

Furbush picked things up in the fifth inning with the Rainiers trailing 7-2, and he delivered three scoreless innings. Furbush retired nine of the ten batters he faced, striking out five. He was credited with a well-deserved win.

Kelley worked scoreless relief in the eighth and ninth to earn the save.

Let’s see if the Rainiers can start a winning streak. Tonight’s game is at 7:05 pm, and the broadcast will be on 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Mauricio Robles against Salt Lake RHP Eric Hurley.

Links:

  • As we will do for the next 142 games, we’ll lead off with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • The Mariners beat Oakland 7-3 on Opening Day #2, and the star was… Chone Figgins? Larry LaRue has the game story.
  • The Mariners had a great game, with a potent offense and solid pitching – but all people are talking about is the A’s Yoenis Cespedes, who destroyed a baseball last night.
  • In this notebook, Geoff Baker has updates on injured outfielders Mike Carp and Franklin Gutierrez.
  • At Double-A Jackson, left-hander James Paxton was absolutely dealing last night. He went 5.2 innings, allowed two hits, no walks and no runs, and he struck out 10. Yowza!
  • The San Francisco Chronicle has a great item on my pal Johnny Doskow, the Sacramento River Cats broadcaster who is filling in on Oakland A’s broadcasts to start the season.
  • In the PCL, Reno had a 5-for-5 performance by leadoff man A.J. Pollock and defeated Colorado Springs, 9-5. The Aces are dealing with an early-season outfield shortage.
  • Mill Creek native Travis Snider launched a go-ahead home run to help Las Vegas defeat Sacramento last night, 4-3.
  • Tucson first baseman Matt Clark is trying to shake the Triple-A slugger label.
  • One-time New York Mets phenom Fernando Martinez ripped a three-run homer, helping Oklahoma City blast Memphis, 12-3. Here’s a Q&A with Oklahoma City’s Mike Hessman, who leads all active players with 350 career minor league home runs.
  • Former Rainiers slugger Brad Nelson is with the Round Rock Express this year. He’s an Iowa native so the newspaper in Des Moines printed a feature on him.
  • New Orleans beat Nashville in 12 innings, 2-1, scoring the winning run on a throwing error.

It’s warming up in Tacoma – beautiful day today, and it shouldn’t be quite as cold at Cheney Stadium tonight. See you at the park!

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