That’s A Winning Streak

Tacoma has won back-to-back games for the first time this season, after picking up an 8-3 win in Albuquerque on Sunday afternoon.

The Rainiers improved to 4-5 on the year, and can reach .500 and claim their first series victory of the year with a win tonight in the final game of the brief road trip.

Tacoma returns home on Tuesday night, with a 6:05 game against Salt Lake. The Rainiers will be starting a rehabilitating Taijuan Walker. Excellent seats are available, so come on out to the park!

Yesterday’s game was a full-team effort. It was a tense affair, with Tacoma leading 4-3 before scoring four insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning to break things open.

You can read about the offensive stars in the newspaper story (first link down below), so let’s talk about the pitching here.

Chance Ruffin was in trouble through most of his 4.2 innings as the starter, but boy did he battle through the jams. Ruffin did not allow a run, giving up three hits and three walks. He struck out seven batters, too.

Clay Rapada relieved Ruffin and inherited a jam in the fifth, but he escaped to preserve a 1-0 lead. However, he gave up a three-run homer to Dodgers prospect Alex Guerrero in the sixth inning, and Tacoma was down 3-1.

The Rainiers rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh to regain a 4-3 lead, and then it was Nick Hill‘s turn to shine. He pitched scoreless ball for 1.2 innings, eventually giving way to Logan Bawcom with two outs in the eighth.

With the tying runner on second base, Bawcom found himself in a prolonged battle with Isotopes leadoff hitter Walter Ibarra. On the 11th pitch of the at-bat, Ibarra smoked a liner – right at second baseman Nick Franklin, who caught it to end the inning.

Pitching with a much more comfortable five-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, Carson Smith easily finished things off.

The Rainiers will try to make it three straight wins tonight. Scheduled starting pitcher Blake Beavan isn’t going to pitch – he was summoned to Seattle – so the Rainiers are having a bullpen game.

Monday’s game is at 5:35 (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show starts at 5:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Brandon Maurer (0-0, 1.42) against Albuquerque RHP Stephen Fife (0-2, 14.73).

Links:

  • Tacoma took the lead on Nick Franklin‘s two-run double in the seventh inning. It came from the right side of the plate – a valuable at-bat, Franklin tells The News Tribune.
  • The Albuquerque newspaper focused on Cuban defector Alex Guerrero, who homered in his Isotopes debut.
  • The Mariners pitched well against Oakland on Sunday, but that doesn’t really matter when you only get three hits.
  • It was a rough day for the Mariners offense, but it’s nothing to get too worked up about just yet according to John McGrath.
  • Lloyd McClendon, just like everyone else in the majors, is still trying to decide if he likes the new instant replay system.
  • The Mariners are one of the teams Jonah Keri focuses on in this week’s edition of “The 30.”
  • Here’s a PCL prospect round-up that leads off with Albuquerque outfielder Joc Pederson.
  • Sacramento swept a doubleheader from Salt Lake and took over first place in the Pacific-North. The River Cats swept the four-game series and are now 7-5. They played a DH yesterday and are not playing today (unlike the rest of the league).
  • Lots to talk about in the Las Vegas 10-4 win at Fresno. Grizzlies reliever Dontrelle Willis suffered an arm injury, rehabilitating Mets outfielder Chris Young went 5-for-5 with two dingers, Fresno third baseman Adam Duvall took the PCL home run lead with five, and Vegas infielder Danny Munro (a former Fresno State star) opened up about his PED use.
  • Reno knocked off El Paso, 6-4, despite a three-run homer from Chihuahuas prankster/director/DH Cody Decker.
  • Iowa picked up a road win in Memphis, 6-3, on the strength of a two-run homer by Matt Szczur. That’s pronounced “cesar” – thank goodness! The Iowa Cubs placed “polarizing” prospect Javier Baez on the disabled list with a sprained ankle.
  • Oklahoma City outfielder Domingo Santana had a great game against New Orleans on Sunday. The Triple-A rookie hit a game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth, and then singled home the winning run in the tenth inning.
  • Infielder Pete Orr had a big day as Nashville topped Omaha, 4-3. Sounds starter Mike Fiers is off to a great start and he could be one of the better pitchers in the PCL this year.
  • Round Rock and Colorado Springs got postponed due to “cold temperatures, rain and snow.” At least they didn’t have locusts.
  • Baseball America has its nation-wide minor league weekend recap.

Let’s see if the Rainiers can get this series win tonight, and bring a three-game win streak back to Tacoma on Tuesday!

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