The Mariners can have Larry Bernandez – the Rainiers have Leury Bonilla!
Pressed into starting duty due to an allergy attack that struck starting second baseman Luis Rodriguez, Leury (pronounced “Larry”) Bonilla had a big game at the plate and led Tacoma to a 6-4 win over Las Vegas on Thursday night in the opening game of an 11-game road trip.
Bonilla delivered a two-out, two-run single to cap a five-run first inning rally against former Mariners pitcher Aaron Laffey. Leury struck again in the fifth inning, crushing a two-out RBI triple to deep right-center, ending Laffey’s night.
Tacoma starter Jarrett Grube was knocked out in the fifth inning, extending the Rainiers string to six straight games in which the starting pitcher didn’t make it through five inning. However, the bullpen was lights out.
Sean Henn – facing his former team – tossed 2.1 scorless innings, including a nice bit of work escaping a jam he inherited in the fifth from Grube.
Shawn Kelly was next, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings for the save on his 28th birthday. Kelley had a 5-pitch inning in the eighth, enabling him to go back out there for the ninth to finish off the game.
Las Vegas outfielder Travis Snider – from Mill Creek, WA and Jackson High School – left the game after three innings. He attempted a diving catch in left field and landed on his glove hand, rolling over his right wrist. Hopefully it’s not a serious injury – it’s fine with us if he misses, say, three games.
Snider was 0-for-1 which ended his season-opening 18-game hitting streak. He’s batting .400 and leads the PCL with 23 RBI.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Jeff Marquez (1-1, 7.11) against Las Vegas RHP Jessie Chavez (2-1, 3.32). Chavez has been the top starter for Las Vegas so far this year.
- Here is the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. A local writer is covering the series, he did a nice job getting quotes from Daren Brown and Leury Bonilla on a tight deadline.*
- Holy Smokes, the Mariners swept the Tigers! They had 37 hits in the three-game sweep, temporarily shutting up all of the complainers who were so noisy three days ago. Young teams are going to be inconsistent.
- Mariners Double-A pitcher Danny Hultzen won the MLB.com minor league pitcher of the week award.
- However, this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet is completely Mariners-free.
- In the PCL, Reno beat Salt Lake in a rain-shortened game, 4-1. The Angels are going to push players up the ladder more quickly with a new regime in place.
- Chad Beck is the Las Vegas closer and it’s a lonely job. He has one save opportunity - the team is 6-15, and most of the wins have been blowouts.
- Graham Godfrey came down from Oakland and tossed a gem for Sacramento in a 5-1 win over Tucson.
- Fresno remains a game ahead of Sacramento as Travis Blackey and the Grizzlies shut out Colorado Springs, 3-0. Blackley is 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA – one of several reasons why Fresno is 16-5 on the year. Lee Smith throwing batting practice? Yikes!
- Fresno isn’t the only team that is 16-5. Omaha reached that mark yesterday in a 3-2 win at Memphis that featured two home runs by David Lough. One was inside-the-park.
- New Orleans drubbed Albuquerque, 9-4. Drubbed is a good word, Times-Picayune guy.
- C’mon, Nashville – don’t be afraid to win a game. That’s ten in a row.
- Oklahoma City had a grand slam from Mike Hessman in a 11-5 win over Round Rock. It was Hessman’s 331st career minor league home run – he is the active leader.
Great start to the road trip – let’s see if this can develop into a winning streak.
* I don’t cover the games in Las Vegas because I have to tear down and pack up the broadcast equipment after every game here – it’s the only stadium in the PCL where you can’t lock your gear in the broadcast booth. Cashman Field doesn’t have broadcast booths, we sit outside on an elevated deck.