What a night.
The Danny Hultzen vs. Jamie Moyer battle brought a sellout crowd to Cheney Stadium on Thursday night. It was a true sellout, people were turned away at the gate and some folks stood on the Foss hill and watched the early innings from what would be the right field bleachers at Safeco.
It was pointed out that this was the first game in years to sell out at Cheney Stadium strictly for the baseball. There were no fireworks, it was not a holiday, there was no huge company that bought 3,000 tickets – it was 7,435 baseball fans, intrigued by the pitching match-up.
The crowd was into it – Moyer received a standing ovation when he walked in from the left field bullpen prior to the national anthem, and the crowd hung on every Danny Hultzen pitch.
The results were not good for the home team. Hultzen needed 90 pitches to make it through four innings, and that was it for him – he allowed one run and left with a 3-1 lead.
Luis Jimenez and Adam Moore hit early homers off Moyer, but the Ancient Mariner settled down and lasted five innings.
Moyer ended up earning the win, because the Tacoma bullpen – which has been the strength of the team all season long – blew up. Vegas scored ten runs against the Rainiers relief trio of Steven Hensley, Steve Delabar, and Brian Moran. Vegas won it, 11-4.
That’s all I’m going to write about the game – there are a lot of excellent stories about the game, written by professional sportswriters who are far better at their craft than I. Please peruse the links down below.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and it’s Friday Night Fireworks post-game. Tacoma wins the series with a victory. The Rainiers start RHP Brian Sweeney (3-1, 4.62) against Las Vegas RHP Sean O’Sullivan (1-0, 0.00). Of course the broadcast is on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here.
One roster move to report today: catcher Brandon Bantz was activated from the disabled list and transferred to Class-A High Desert. Bantz is healthy, but there was no playing time available with Moore and Guillermo Quiroz here. He filled in very nicely when Moore was on the disabled list, and I’m sure we’ll see him again down the road. In High Desert, he’ll get an opportunity to play.
- We’ll start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, written by Todd Milles.
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times was in attendance, and he wrote an excellent column about the pitching match-up, and the nature of Triple-A baseball. << read this one!
- Stone also live-blogged the game, and he posted post-game thoughts and quotes.
- Check out these side-by-side photographs of Moyer and Hultzen.
- John McGrath enjoyed the duel, but thought that it kind of fizzled out.
- Ryan Divish posted video of the post-game press conferences of Hultzen and Daren Brown. At the two-minute mark, Hultzen talks about how much more disciplined Triple-A hitters are than Double-A hitters. This is why players don’t go straight from AA to the majors.
- You know it is a major media event when Art Thiel shows up – here is his report. Read this one, too – he called the match-up a “baseball wormhole of time travel.”
- The mysterious marc w of USS Mariner was at the game, and he posted a report that includes a fantastic photo of Hultzen. Comment #2 at the bottom is one of those win-the-internet quips.
- The Rainiers game somehow overshadowed Felix Hernandez facing the Red Sox – but that one turned out to be the better game. Felix was absolutely dominant, striking out 13 Red Sox in a five-hit shutout.
- Kevin Millwood says he’s not going to miss a start.
- Baseball America broke down the rosters of the Triple-A All-Star Game.
- In the PCL, Reno had three starters voted to the all-star game. All are deserving, too.
- Fresno downed Reno, 11-8. The Grizzlies pulled within 1.5 games of first place Sacramento.
- Salt Lake continued its hot play by crushing Sacramento, 10-3.
- Tucson reliever Brad Boxberger is trying to throw more strikes. Aren’t we all?
- Iowa left a million runners on base and lost to Oklahoma City, 3-1. We feel your pain, Iowa Cubs.
- Memphis had a bullpen blow-up and lost to Albuquerque, 10-8. We feel your pain, Memphis Redbirds.
- My favorite headline writer was on duty for the Austin newspaper last night. Express Beat Sounds.
- Omaha starter Matt Montgomery allowed 11 runs in 1.1 innings yesterday.
Back to the ballpark for the rubber match of the series. Let’s win a rubber match!