Bully For The Bullpen

The Rainiers opened up the season-ending eight-game road trip with a 7-5 victory in Las Vegas, and this win serves as a perfect example of the one aspect of this year’s Rainiers team that has been strong from the start of the season to the finish: the bullpen.

Tacoma relievers Brian Moran, Chance Ruffin, and Danny Farquhar combined to pitch 4.2 shutout innings, protecting a slim two-run lead the whole time.

Tacoma built a 7-0 lead with a series of big two-out hits. Alex Liddi hit a two-out RBI double in the first, Luis Rodriguez smoked a two-out, two-run double in the second, and Liddi crushed a three-run homer with two outs in the fifth.

Darren Ford was on-base three times and scored three runs, and Rodriguez went 4-for-5 for his first four-hit game of the season.

Tacoma starter Andrew Carraway carried a one-hitter into the fifth, but his control deserted him and he allowed five runs to score before the bullpen saved the day.

Tacoma has won four of the first six games against Las Vegas and can clinch their second Nine Game Mega Series trophy of the season with a win today.

The key to the success against Vegas has been pitching: Las Vegas is batting just .184 over the first six games of this series, and they are hitting just .139 with 17 hits in the last four games. The 51s team batting average has dropped from .301 to .297 during the series – that’s a big move for this late in the season.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and you can listen on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Hector Noesi (1-5, 5.71) against RHP Shawn Hill (9-1, 4.64).

Tacoma will add outfielder Casper Wells to the active roster today, and that will require a roster move.

Links:

  • We have a Rainiers report of sorts from The News Tribune.
  • The Mariners won because Felix Hernandez absolutely dominated, once again.
  • The Minneapolis newspaper has a great story on Felix’s gem.
  • Greg Johns chimes in with some Felix Fun Facts.
  • Jerry Brewer bumped Felix up his theoretical Cy Young Award ballot.
  • In the PCL, the big story here in Las Vegas surrounds a possible affiliation change. Las Vegas general manager Chuck Johnson has a great quote.
  • Reno moved a step closer to the Pacific-North title, beating Fresno on a squeeze bunt in the tenth inning. Brett Butler loves the squeeze.
  • Colorado Springs was beaten up by Sacramento, and the Sky Sox playoff chances took a hit.
  • Salt Lake lost at home to Tucson, and the Bees are on the brink of elimination. Maybe Peter Bourjos can save the day.
  • Fresno outfielder Xavier Nady – who is, of course, a Cal Bear – is hoping to help out the Giants down the stretch.
  • With the New Orleans series against Round Rock moved to Texas because of the storm, the Zephyrs will bat last in Round Rock’s home ballpark. They start with a doubleheader today.
  • Nashville leads the PCL in one-run victories.
  • Omaha put a whuppin’ on Memphis. That is how you spell whuppin’, right? I’ll ask Daren Brown, he’ll know.
  • Oklahoma City picked up a game against first-place Albuquerque last night as Mike Hessman hit his league-leading 32nd home run. The RedHawks pretty much have to sweep the series.

We are down to the final seven games of the season – one week left. Here is the big question for the final seven days: will the high temperature dip below 100 anywhere on this road trip? Seems unlikely.

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