Walker Dominates As Rainiers Win Again

Taijuan Walker lost a no-hit bid with one out in the seventh inning, but Tacoma won the game on Saturday night in Nashville.

Tacoma topped Nashville 2-1 as Walker, Stephen Pryor, and Todd Coffey combined to limit the Sounds to just two hits. The Rainiers have won three straight games for the first time since early May.

Walker delivered the start that the Mariners have been waiting for. He threw strikes, got ahead in the count, and had dominant stuff. There were only a couple of hard-hit outs prior to Sean Halton‘s clean single in the seventh which ended the no-hit bid.

Nashville has a heavily left-handed lineup, which forced Walker to use his change much more than his curve. He had an effective one on Saturday and it contributed to his success.

Tacoma nudged out two runs against Nashville starter Brad Mills and his 1.57 ERA. Jesus Sucre singled in Gabriel Noriega with two outs in the fourth inning, and Jabari Blash launched a long home run to left field in the sixth.

We are currently seeing an extended Jabari Blash hot streak, and it has been fun. Blash has homered in two straight games, he has hit seven homers and has 19 RBI over his last 14 games, he has hit safely in nine straight games, and he has at least one RBI in five straight.

On the roster front, Tacoma added Ji-Man Choi and reliever Stephen Kohlscheen from Double-A Jackson. Choi takes the spot that used to belong to Jesus Montero, and Kohlscheen is filling in for the injured Logan Bawcom, who was placed on the 7-day disabled list with an as-yet-diagnosed ribcage strain of some kind.

Sunday’s game starts at 12:05 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 11:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Forrest Snow (—) against Nashville RHP Ariel Pena (4-5, 4.19).

Links:

  • We’ll start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, in which manager Roy Howell discusses Walker’s outing.
  • My minor league notebook for the paper looks at some Mariners prospects in line for mid-season promotions.
  • The Mariners lost another one-run game and have dropped five straight. They are back at .500 on the year.
  • Bob Dutton has all kinds of stuff – including some trade rumors – in his Mariners notebook.
  • Over at the Seattle Times, Ryan Divish has an MLB notes column and power rankings.
  • Here’s the Sunday MLB notebook from the San Francisco Chronicle, which I’m linking to because I love the philosophical quote from Chili Davis.
  • In the PCL, Omaha first baseman and Rainier Beach High School graduate Matt Fields got married at the ballpark.
  • Also on the field in the PCL, Sacramento remained in first place in the Pac-North by beating Iowa, 9-4. The big news there was the trade of no-longer-River-Cat-for-life Michael Taylor to the White Sox.
  • Reno trails Sacramento by one game, as the Aces kept pace with a 4-3 win at Memphis. Nick Ahmed had four hits.
  • Omaha swept a doubleheader at Fresno. Fresno voluntarily elected to play a DH yesterday in order create an off-day for travel to New Orleans on Monday – giving up a home date in the process. Not a bad idea, since Monday is usually a slow day at the gate.*
  • Las Vegas worked Oklahoma City, 7-1. However, 51s starter Rafael Montero was removed after just five pitches with an unspecified injury.
  • Salt Lake utility infielder Vance Albitz went 5-for-5 in a 12-4 win at Colorado Springs. The story details Albitz’s cool charity project. Of course, the big news in the Springs is that one of those Duck Dynasty buffoons showed up at the game.
  • New Orleans hit four home runs in an 8-1 win at Albuquerque. Ex-Rainiers infielder Carlos Triunfel was called up by the Dodgers. A Sunday story for you: Isotopes pitcher Jeff Bennett credits his spirituality for his improved demeanor.
  • Round Rock won its sixth in a row, 5-2 at El Paso.  Bryan Peterson went 4-for-4.

Happy Father’s Day!

* pro tip: if you want better odds for getting a foul ball, or autographs, or maybe you just want a uncrowded section of seats for you and your family, go to a minor league baseball game on a Monday night.

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