The Reno Aces hit a couple of home runs in the top of the seventh inning and beat Tacoma on Thursday night, 4-3. That gave Reno a series victory, as Tacoma’s division rival won three of the four games.
The Rainiers had a strong start from Jordan Pries, who allowed one run over six innings despite not looking quite as sharp as he had in his previous two outings. Pries left the game with a 3-1 lead.
The game was decided when Roger Kieschnick and Nick Evans hit back-to-back homers in the top of the seventh inning off Stephen Pryor. Kieschinick’s was a two-run shot, and Reno took the 4-3 lead.
Offense was a problem for Tacoma for the third day in a row. Tacoma had just five hits last night, and the Rainiers have connected for only 12 hits total over the past three games.
They should get some help starting tonight: Mariners outfielder Logan Morrison is set to begin a rehabilitation assignment tonight, as he returns from a hamstring injury suffered on April 14. Morrison has only has 20 at-bats this season, so he could be with Tacoma for a while as he gets accustomed to facing live pitching again. The maximum length of a rehabilitation assignment for a position player is 20 days.
The Mariners also announced that James Paxton will begin a rehab assignment of his own on Saturday – he’ll start one of the games of the doubleheader, which begins at 5:05 pm. I assume he’ll pitch the first game, and I’ll try to confirm that at the ballpark later today.
We also received word that has been expected for some time: Rainiers left-hander Anthony Fernandez had ‘Tommy John surgery’ on his left elbow yesterday. That’s a major set-back for the southpaw, who will spend the rest of his season rehabilitating and probably won’t pitch again until this time next year.
Now the El Paso Chihuahuas return to Cheney Stadium for five games in four days (Saturday’s doubleheader is a makeup for a rainout in early April). El Paso has lost six of its last eight games, dropping 3-of-4 in back-to-back series against Las Vegas and Sacramento.
El Paso has two ex-Rainiers on the roster: catcher Adam Moore (who is having a great season, batting .348 in 132 at-bats) and reliever Bobby LaFromboise. Also, it is important to remember during this series that El Paso pitcher Jorge Reyes is not deaf.
Friday’s game starts at 7:05 – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Erasmo Ramirez (0-2, 5.51) against El Paso RHP Keyvius Sampson (2-3, 4.81).
- Don Ruiz has the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- More information on Logan Morrison‘s rehab can be found in Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook.
- Michael Saunders won a race and the Mariners won a baseball game on Thursday night.
- Three PCL players but no Mariners made this week’s edition of the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.
- Pedro Martinez talked about the art of pitching and it is awesome.
- In the PCL, Sacramento beat El Paso last night 10-8 to win that series, three games to one.
- Josh Hamilton went 2-for-4 on a rehabilitation assignment, but he still couldn’t put Salt Lake on the scoreboard yesterday. The Bees lost to Jeff Bennett and Albuquerque, 1-0.
- Fresno closer Heath Hembree nailed down his tenth save and the Grizzlies beat Las Vegas, 6-3.
- A fan touring the country rating ballparks and hot dogs gave Colorado Springs two thumbs down. On the field, chaos was restored as the Sky Sox out-slugged Memphis, 9-8.
- Omaha edged Nashville on a sac fly in the tenth inning.
- Cubs phenom Javier Baez has been a big story in the PCL this year, due to the massive struggle he has had adjusting to Triple-A pitching. An adjustment may be happening now: he went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a homer in Iowa’s 7-2 win at Round Rock, boosting his average above the Mendoza Line to .201.
- Miami Marlins top prospect Andrew Heaney delivered five strong innings in his Triple-A debut, but he was long gone by the time New Orleans beat Oklahoma City in the tenth inning, 3-2. Jordanny Valdespin had the game-winning hit.
- We close with Baseball America’s minor league round-up.
Come out to the game tonight and stick around for Friday Night Fireworks immediately after.