Rainiers Get 17 Hits, Lose, Gain Ground

July 29, 2013

It was a weird day all-around for the Rainiers on Sunday.

The team collected 17 hits in Reno, but scored only five runs and lost to the Aces, 6-5. Fundamental problems on the bases were detrimental in the late innings.

Even though the team lost, they gained a half-game on first place Salt Lake. The Bees dropped both games of a doubleheader in Tucson, ending their seven-game winning streak and starting a two-game losing streak.

Tacoma is now one game out of first place, with 35 to play.

Nate Tenbrink hit a three-run homer last night, continuing his hot hitting. He’s hit in eight straight games since the all-star break, with four home runs during the stretch.

Rehabbing Mariners slugger Michael Morse was a late scratch from the lineup. It appears that his rehab is over and he’ll be activated by the Mariners tomorrow in Boston.

For the fifth season in a row, the Rainiers have lost the season series to Reno. However, Tacoma can salvage a split of this four-game road series with a victory today.

Today’s game is at 1:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, streaming right here, and available via the TuneIn app for iPads and smart phones. Tacoma starts RHP Hector Noesi (2-1, 7.20) against Reno RHP Nate Adcock (2-1, 8.00).

Links:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • Nick Franklin homered twice as the Mariners beat the Twins yesterday, earning a split of the four-game series.
  • Larry Stone has notes on Eric Wedge and Daren Brown.
  • Tucson swept that doubleheader from Salt Lake. First game, second game. Thank you, Padres!
  • Sacramento lost a home game in Las Vegas. Yes, in Las Vegas. They play a DH today.
  • Jeff Manship steered Colorado Springs to victory, ending the Sky Sox six-game losing streak.
  • Oklahoma City’s George Springer is going off, and he has a chance to win minor league player of the year awards. Tacoma missed him – Springer was in Double-A when the Rainiers played the RedHawks in May.
  • Brian Flynn tossed a gem and New Orleans won in Albuquerque, 3-2. Dee Gordon broke the Isotopes single-season stolen base record.
  • Omaha has been hot; they beat Nashville yesterday, 4-1.

The benefit of today’s day game is that the Rainiers get to fly home tonight. Everyone should be well-rested for the homestand that opens on Tuesday, with Taijuan Walker on the mound against Omaha at 7:05.


Pitcher’s Duel? In Reno? No. Way.

July 28, 2013

The good news is we saw the best pitcher’s dues in the five-year history of Aces Ballpark last night. The bad news is that the Rainiers lost, 1-0.

Tacoma’s James Paxton and Reno’s Zeke Spruill locked horns in the first ever 1-0 game at Reno’s launching pad, which was built in 2009.

Paxton gave up a run in the second inning on a single to right, a sharp grounder back to the mound that went off his glove for an infield single, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly.

That was it – the only run of the game. Paxton went eight innings, giving up four hits and one run with no walks.

Paxton has not walked a batter in 26 innings pitched. He’s allowed five runs in his last 30 innings, for a 1.50 ERA over his past four starts.

After a rocky start to the season, Paxton has now been highly effective for eight starts, posting a 2.41 ERA during that span. Looks like he’s ready to help in Seattle, whenever he is needed.

Tonight’s game is at 6:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, streaming right here, and available via the TuneIn app for iPads and smart phones. Tacoma starts RHP Andrew Carraway (6-3, 4.05) against Reno RHP Charles Brewer (4-9, 5.47).

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story for The News Tribune has reaction from both managers regarding the brilliant pitcher’s duel. In the notes, Hector Noesi will take Brandon Maurer’s spot in the Tacoma rotation.
  • My minor league notebook for the paper looks at the incredible parity in the PCL, and the recent history of six-hit games.
  • In his Sunday baseball column at the Seattle Times, Larry Stone asks if the Mariners are going to use their head or their heart as the trade deadline approaches. Stone also has his power rankings.
  • Seattle got shut out by former PCL pitcher Samuel Deduno and the Twins last night.
  • The Mariners called up Brandon Maurer and will use him out of the bullpen.
  • Salt Lake keeps winning. The Bees beat Tucson last night, 4-2, to pull 1.5 games ahead of Tacoma.
  • Colorado Springs is sinking like a rock in a lake. The Sky Sox lost their sixth in a row yesterday.
  • Las Vegas took sole possession of first place in the South once again, beating Sacramento 9-4.
  • George Springer hit an inside-the-park home run to help Oklahoma City shut out Iowa.
  • Omaha beat Nashville in the 11th inning when Eugenio Velez dropped a fly ball.
  • Albuquerque defeated New Orleans twice on Saturday.
  • Since trading third baseman Mike Olt, Round Rock is playing a catcher at third. Leury Garcia hit a walk-off homer to beat Memphis last night, 6-5.
  • Cool story about the girls on the grounds crew in Oklahoma City.
  • Additional cool story about Ken Levine visiting Isotopes Park.

Rare Sunday night game tonight, followed by a day game on Monday. The Rainiers return home Tuesday night with Taijuan Walker on the mound against Omaha.


Rainiers Tame Aces After Wild Ride

July 27, 2013

Tacoma took down the Reno Aces in 12 innings last night, 9-7, in perhaps the craziest win of the season.

The game ended at 11:30 PM, and I quickly typed up a play-by-play style story for The News Tribune as we were well past the paper’s deadline.

I have no idea if the story made it into the print edition, and I can’t find it on their website, so… I’ll just copy it here.

RENO, Nev. – It took two tries, but eventually a two-run Tacoma lead in extra innings stood up.

Tacoma scored twice in the top of the 12th inning to defeat the Reno Aces in the opening game of a four-game series on Friday night, 9-7. It was the second straight extra-innings win for the Rainiers, who have won four of their last five games.

Carlos Peguero was the hitting star, going 6-for-7 at the plate while contributing in almost every Rainiers rally.

Peguero singled in his first two at-bats against rehabilitating Arizona Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy. However, he was the only Tacoma batter to have any early success against McCarthy, who carried a 5-1 lead into the sixth inning.

Michael Morse led off the sixth with a single, before Peguero homered to straight-away center field for his 16th of the season.

Peguero’s fourth hit was a leadoff double in the eighth, and he later scored on Carlos Triunfel’s single to make it 5-4.

Tacoma (60-47) would tie the score in the ninth, when Stefen Romero tripled home Nate Tenbrink with one out. Romero was stranded at third, as Aces closer Chaz Roe struck out Morse on three pitches before getting Peguero to ground out – Peguero’s only out of the night.

Abraham Almonte and Robert Andino each hit solo home runs in the top of the tenth against Reno reliever Brett Lorin, and Tacoma had a 7-5 lead.

Three batters into the bottom of the ninth inning, the Aces had tied it up. Juan Rivera, Brad Snyder, and Alfredo Marte greeted Tacoma closer Logan Bawcom with consecutive hits.

Marte reached third with one out, but Bawcom stranded him there and the game moved on.

Peguero’s fifth hit – a single – helped load the bases in the top of the 11th, but Tacoma was unable to score.

Two runs in the top of the 12th did the trick. Andino hit a leadoff single against Eury De La Rosa, and Tenbrink sacrificed him to second before Ty Kelly reached on an infield single putting runners at the corners.

Stefen Romero lifted a sac fly to center, scoring Andino as Kelly advanced to second. Reno elected to intentionally walk Morse and face Peguero – who singled through the left side for his sixth hit, driving in Kelly with a big insurance run.

Peguero became the second Tacoma player to collect six hits in a game this season, joining Abraham Almonte. Only two Rainiers had accomplished the feat in the previous 13 years.

Jonathan Arias retired all three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth, earning his first Triple-A save.

Short Hops: the Rainiers found themselves with just one catcher on the roster, because Jason Jaramillo was left back in Seattle in case he was needed to replace the injured Mike Zunino. Scott Savastano served as the emergency catcher on Friday, and Jaramillo is expected to rejoin the team today.

Tacoma now trails Salt Lake by a half-game in the standings.

Roster update: today the Mariners called up Tacoma starter Brandon Maurer, with the intention of using him as a reliever. They optioned Hector Noesi to Tacoma.

Maurer was listed as Monday’s starter for Tacoma – I do not know yet who is going to take his spot in the rotation, but Brian Sweeney is always a good guess.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, streaming right here, and available via the TuneIn app for iPads and smart phones. Tacoma starts LHP James Paxton (7-7, 4.40) against Reno RHP Zeke Spruill (3-3, 3.64).

Links:

  • The Mariners lost in 13 innings last night, 3-2.
  • Mike Zunino is out roughly six weeks with a broken hamate bone. The Mariners signed free agent Humberto Quintero to fill his spot.
  • Salt Lake was rained out in Tucson (it’s monsoon season – click on the picture in that link). They’ll try to play one game tonight, and then a makeup doubleheader tomorrow.
  • Colorado Springs is in a free fall – they took a 6-3 lead into the ninth inning at home last night, only to see Fresno score seven runs and win the game 10-6. The PCL’s leading hitter Corey Dickerson was recalled by the Rockies.
  • Big battle in the South, where Sacramento won the series opener at Las Vegas to pull into a tie for first with the 51s. Las Vegas manager Wally Backman wants to win the division.
  • Chris Dwyer tossed a gem and Omaha beat Nashville, 6-1.
  • Memphis downed Round Rock, 7-4.
  • Oklahoma City used a huge inning to defeat Iowa, 10-6.
  • Ken Levine posted the portion of the script he wrote for The Simpsons in which he unwittingly named the Albuquerque Isotopes. The ‘Topes game yesterday was suspended due to rain – in the first inning.

If I wasn’t in Reno, I would definitely attend the second annual Moveable Feast on Sunday at Cheney Stadium. There will be nearly 40 food trucks there, so bring an empty stomach.


Poythress Produces

July 26, 2013

Tacoma first baseman Rich Poythress had his second huge game in the last week, hitting two home runs including a walk-off shot in the Rainiers 6-5 win over Tucson on Thursday night.

The victory gave Tacoma a series victory over Tucson (three games to one), and kept Tacoma within one game of the streaking Salt Lake Bees.

Poythress hit a two-run homer in the fourth, doubled in the sixth, and then pulled his game-winning blast in the tenth.

It was the second two-homer game since the all-star break for Poythress, who is hitting .364 (8-for-22) with four homers and 11 RBI in six games since the break.

Poythress’s big game took the spotlight from starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, who struggled for his first time at the Triple-A level.

After four starts holding the opponent to either one or zero runs, Walker gave up five in five innings.

Still, there were stretches where he looked outstanding: in the first three innings, he retired nine of the ten batters to come to the plate – six via strikeout. He hung a breaking ball to former Rainiers slugger Mike Wilson, and we all know what happens when a pitcher does that: dinger.

It was the fourth inning when he struggled. With two on and two out, he allowed four straight batters to reach base – the bottom four in the Tucson lineup – and four runs crossed the plate. It appeared to me that he was simply leaving pitches up in the strike zone during this stretch.

After Walker left, four Tacoma relievers combined to toss five shutout innings to help the club to the victory. Brian Sweeney, Carter Capps, Bobby LaFromboise, and Josh Kinney did the work.

Rainiers catcher Jason Jaramillo contributed a huge hit: a two-out, two-strike RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game, 5-5.

Now the team moves on to Reno, to face the last-place Aces. However, it was the Aces who swept Tacoma in the four-game series at Cheney Stadium heading into the all-star break, sending Tacoma into a tailspin in which they lost eight out of ten games.

Reno is back to plummeting in the standings, though: they just played an EIGHT GAME MEGA SERIES against Las Vegas, and lost seven of ‘em – including the last five in a row. Their pitching has not been strong – they have given up 10+ runs in three of the last five games.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, streaming right here, and available via the TuneIn app for iPads and smart phones. Tacoma starts RHP Blake Beavan (4-3, 5.10) against rehabilitating twitter star Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Brandon McCarthy (0-0, 12.46).

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune is chock-full-of Poythress.
  • The Mariners clubbed the Twins, Ryan Divish writes. They’ve won nine of the last ten games.
  • Chris Nelson helped the Salt Lake Bees win their sixth in a row. Salt Lake opens a series at Tucson tonight.
  • Colorado Springs is dropping in the standings, after getting walked off by Sacramento last night.
  • Las Vegas edged Reno, 5-3, and has now won eight of its last nine games.

That’s all of the links for today, due to PCL travel. Will have updates for you all weekend!


Reno Wins PCL Title

September 16, 2012

Congratulations to the Reno Aces, winners of the 2012 Pacific Coast League championship.

The Aces defeated Omaha on Saturday night, 8-2. That gave them the series victory, 3-1.

Reno split the two home games and then won two straight on the road to take down the defending PCL champions. Reno has only been in the league since 2009 and this is their first title.

Last night’s deciding victory was a one-sided affair. The Aces out-hit Omaha, 15-7. A.J. Pollock and Mike Jacobs each homered in the eighth inning off Omaha relief ace Donnie Joseph to put the game out of reach. Pollock was named MVP of the series.

Tyler Kuhn went 4-for-5 and scored three runs, and Jacobs had three RBI for Reno. Starting pitcher Charlie Brewer pitched into the seventh inning and allowed just two runs, striking out eight while earning the win. The Reno bullpen – which improved dramatically as the season wore on – tossed 2.2 scoreless innings.

Reno, of course, is a division rival of Tacoma’s. Reno is the first team from the Pacific-North other than Tacoma to win the league championship since Edmonton took the crown in 2002.

Congratulations to the entire Aces organization, with a special RG-to-RG congrats to Reno radio guy Ryan Radtke.

Reno has one game left to play: the Triple-A Baseball National Championship game, on Tuesday. It’s being played in Durham, North Carolina this year and will be nationally televised. Reno will send Trevor Bauer to the mound against International League champion Pawtucket.

Links:

  • Hard-working Rob White wrote two stories: an Aces-related article for the Reno newspaper, and an Omaha-centric story for his own employer.
  • After the game, Kansas City called up a number of Omaha players, including former Rainiers catcher Adam Moore and top starting pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi.
  • Justin Smoak delivered twice late in the game and the Mariners beat the Texas Rangers on Saturday, 8-6. The M’s can win the series on the road with a victory today.
  • Larry Stone’s Sunday baseball package is up at the Times: a column about the low-scoring environment in MLB these days, a notebook leading off with an item on former Mariners prospect Phillippe Aumont, power rankings, and thumbs up-and-down.

There will be no new blog on Monday – we’ll be back Tuesday, with a closer look at the Triple-A National Championship Game.


Good Match-Up, Bad Result

June 1, 2012

The Rainiers lost another in Reno on Thursday night, an 8-3 decision that was a lot closer than the final score indicates.

Tacoma trailed 4-3 in the seventh, but the Rainiers had some momentum having scored three unanswered runs.

With two outs and runners at second and third in the bottom of the seventh, Cesar Jimenez intentionally walked right-handed (and red-hot) Cole Gillespie, to face left-handed Mike Jacobs.

This gave Tacoma a left-versus-left platoon advantage and set up a force out at any base.

The move backfired when Jacobs lined a fastball for a two-run single to right. The ball dropped just in front of hard-charging right fielder Casper Wells.

That hit made it 6-3, and all of the helium leaked out of the Rainiers balloon when two more runs scored on a single and a wild pitch.

Tacoma is now 0-7 against Reno this year, with all seven games played here. The team tries to avoid a sweep today at 7:05. Tacoma starts RHP Forrest Snow (1-4, 7.79) against Reno RHP Barry Enright (4-3, 4.66). Catch the broadcast on 850 AM or streaming online right here.

Links:

Let’s try to get out of here with a win.


Twenty-One, Delabar/Pryor, and Manny

May 31, 2012

The yucky taste of the Rainiers 13-5 loss in Reno on Wednesday afternoon was quickly washed away by a stream of interesting news: the Mariners scored 21 runs, then they announced a relief pitcher swap, and then we heard that one of the greatest hitters in baseball history is (almost certainly) coming to Cheney Stadium.

Let’s tackle these one at a time:

First, the Mariners scored 21 runs. It’s the second highest total in franchise history, and it seemingly came out of nowhere. They had scored 21 runs total in their previous six games! The had 20 hits, and 11 went for extra bases.

For me, the best part is that it came against the two-time AL champion Texas Rangers. That made it a lot sweeter.

I’m curious to see if that game causes some increased production in the next series, this weekend in Chicago. The young hitters were heavily involved in the 21-run uprising; they should be carrying a lot of confidence into Chicago.

Second, after the game the Mariners announced they are sending Steve Delabar to Tacoma, and that they will call up a reliever on Friday. Not soon thereafter, Stephen Pryor‘s agent tweeted that Pryor is going to the big leagues. We’ll go ahead and believe the agent – if he tweeted that and was wrong, he’d be the worst agent ever, wouldn’t he?

Mariners fans are going to wonder if Pryor will be closing games. I’d advise them to slow down and wait a while. Yes, Pryor has closer stuff, but he’s a rookie. He’s hard to hit, but he can be wild at times. He’ll probably pitch in middle relief at first, perhaps some set-up work. He’ll certainly see more action than Iwakuma.

One thing to keep an eye on is Pryor’s usage. He has not pitched in back-to-back games this season, and has done so just twice in his professional career – once in 2010, and once in 2011. It will be interesting to see if Eric Wedge treats him carefully.

The lack of back-to-back game experience precludes Pryor from closing right there – unless you aren’t planning on going on any winning streaks.

(As an aside, it makes no sense to me that the Mariners do not allow minor league relief prospects to pitch in back-to-back games. If they reach the majors, they will be asked to do it all of the time. Why not start doing it in the minors, as part of the developmental process?

The Mariners used to use minor league relievers up to three games in a row, to prepare for future boss Lou Piniella. In recent years they have stopped doing this.)

Third, I learned this morning that it is almost a certainty that Manny Ramirez will be travelling with the Sacramento River Cats to Cheney Stadium on Saturday.

Manny’s suspension is over, as is his rehabilitation assignment. He is an official member of the Sacramento 25-man roster.

The A’s haven’t called him up yet because he is rusty. After yesterday’s 0-for-4, three strikeout game against Fresno, Manny is batting .222 (8-for-36), and all eight of his hits have been singles.

The A’s want to see Manny improve his timing, and drive some extra base hits. He’ll probably be in Sacramento until that happens.

Sacramento plays at Tacoma on Saturday (7:05), Sunday (1:35), Monday (7:05), and Tuesday (11:35 AM). Tickets are available at the Cheney Stadium Box Office and online right here. No refunds if Manny doesn’t show up* – as you know, we can’t control Manny being Manny!

Tonight, the Rainiers have a job to do: win a baseball game in Reno. It’s long overdue. First pitch is at 7:05, and you can hear the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Jeff Marquez (4-4, 6.52) against Reno LHP Patrick Corbin (0-1, 7.20).

Links:

  • I wrote the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune, with quotes from manager Daren Brown. The story includes an explanation of Reno’s two-run sacrifice fly.
  • The Mariners scored 21 runs – which is pretty much what the Rainiers need to do in Reno. Here’s Larry LaRue’s game story (with a very Reno-centric headline and a great lede), Geoff Baker’s story from the Seattle Times, and Larry Stone’s 21-Run Salute.
  • Don’t tell anyone, but Mariners reliever Lucas Luetge still has a 0.00 ERA.
  • Jason Churchill thinks its time for Danny Hultzen and Nick Franklin to be promoted to Tacoma. I certainly agree on Hultzen, not so sure about Franklin. It will probably be three weeks until anything happens – Jackson is in first place with a 1.5-game lead and 17 to play in the first half, and they clinch a playoff spot if they hang on. The Mariners might want to try to win that before shifting players around.
  • In the PCL, Colorado Springs looked at the Mariners 21 runs and said “no big deal.” The Sky Sox edged Salt Lake on Wednesday, 22-8. Salt Lake’s starter had an especially rough Triple-A debut.
  • Travis Banwart tossed a gem and Sacramento beat Fresno, 3-1, to pull within 1.5 games of first place in the South.
  • Las Vegas was a winner at Tucson, 7-4. The Tucson paper has a nice feature on Padres closer Brad Boxberger.
  • New Orleans was shut out at home by Albuquerque, 4-0.
  • Memphis has been one of the worst teams in the PCL this season, but they had a rare cause to celebrate last night.
  • Oklahoma City coasted to a 7-2 win over Nashville.
  • Iowa and Omaha were rained out, they’ll play a doubleheader today.

Looking forward to seeing Manny this weekend, but the Rainiers have business to take care of here in Reno tonight and tomorrow.

* my biggest concern about Manny is that he could retire before the series. Or, he might go 4-for-4 with three homers against Fresno tonight and get himself called up.


The Belly Of The Beast

May 30, 2012

Greetings from the Rainiers own house of horrors, Aces Ballpark in downtown Reno, Nevada.

The Rainiers lost to Reno in the opening game of the series on Tuesday night, 7-5. It was a surprisingly low-scoring game from the PCL’s best hitter’s park.

Reno took a 7-1 lead early against Tacoma starter Andrew Carraway, who got knocked around for his first time this season.

Carraway couldn’t put away innings: six of Reno’s seven runs scored on two-out hits, and most of them were line shots into the outfield.

Tacoma had some plate discipline issues in the first six innings, chasing sliders out of the strike zone. Reno starter Joe Martinez struck out seven in 5.2 innings.

Once the Aces bullpen entered the game, the Rainiers bats came alive – but it was too little, too late.

Special shout-out to Leury Bonilla, who hit his first Triple-A home run in the ninth inning off Reno closer Jonathan Albaladejo.

Bonilla was playing because Luis Jimenez fouled a ball of his right ankle, and had to be helped off the field by trainer Tom Newberg. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and Luis can get back in there today or tomorrow.

Tacoma has now lost 11 straight games to Reno, including an 0-5 record this year. The Rainiers are 6-23 all-time at Aces Ballpark, which opened for the 2009 season.

We have three games left in this series, and at this point the Rainiers want to take baby steps: win one, and build from there.

Today’s game is at 1:05 PM (it was incorrectly listed as 7:05 on early prints of the Rainiers schedule). We’ll have the broadcast on 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Anthony Vasquez (5-2, 5.15) against Reno RHP Charles Brewer (1-4, 6.75).

Links:

  • I wrote the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune – the game ended too late to get quotes, but it does have the blow-by-blow.*
  • The Mariners piled up the runs and beat Texas yesterday, 10-3. That was very, very good to see.
  • Larry LaRue has more on Franklin Gutierrez and his upcoming 20-day stint with the Rainiers.
  • Steve Kelley at the Times writes that Eric Wedge should not be blamed for the Mariners struggles. I agree 100% – this is a rebuilding year.
  • One of my favorite yahoos – John McGrath - wrote about the three players he thinks the Mariners are looking at for next week’s first-round draft pick.
  • In this Geoff Baker notebook, we learn that Dustin Ackley’s teammates are mocking him for not playing on his bobblehead day. Also, James Paxton at Double-A Jackson is going to miss a few starts with a knee problem.
  • Larry Stone has a blog item on Brandon League and the Mariners closer prospects.
  • In the PCL, Sacramento walked-off Fresno on a homer by Brandon Hicks. This is a good rivalry series.
  • A’s first baseman-turned-pitcher Sean Doolittle has made a rapid ascent to Triple-A Sacramento. Yoenis Cespedes is on rehab with the River Cats.
  • Salt Lake found the bats! Fourteen hits and a 7-3 win over Colorado Springs to end a six-game losing streak.
  • Down at the Austin Statesman, my favorite headline writer got the score wrong – again. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s just a poorly programmed bot.

That’s all the links I have time to get to today – early game!

* w/r/t the newspaper headline, you cannot bet on PCL games in Nevada casinos – even though the Harrah’s sports book is about 500 feet from the entrance to Aces Ballpark. There was a very funny story in the Reno newspaper about this when the team first moved here in 2009 - a “fan” was actually quoted as saying “Why would I go to the game if I can’t bet on it?”


Long Night, Tough Loss

August 23, 2011

Reno dropped Tacoma in 12 innings last night, 7-6. The Aces now have an 8.5-game lead and their magic number to clinch the North is down to seven.

Tacoma was down 5-1 early but the Rainiers fought hard and came back, eventually tying the game in the top of the ninth inning, 6-6.

A key was Tacoma’s bullpen, as Forrest Snow, Fabio Castro, Scott Patterson, and Shawn Kelley combined to pitch seven innings of no-hit, no-run relief.

But Tacoma’s offense could not score in the extra innings, and Andy Tracy and Ryan Langerhans hit back-to-back doubles to end the game in the bottom of the 12th.

The Rainiers have lost seven straight games, which is the longest streak of the year.

Tacoma hopes to salvage the final game of the Reno series tonight at 7:05. The Rainiers starts LHP Chris Seddon (8-6, 6.43) against Reno RHP Wes Roemer (0-0, 1.69). Catch the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM or streaming online right here.

Links:

  • I wrote the Rainiers game story, sending it in well after The News Tribune’s deadline – it probably didn’t get into the print edition. No quotes, but the blow-by-blow is in there.
  • The Mariners picked up a win yesterday and they are playing the first of two in Cleveland as I type this.
  • Seattle is calling up Anthony Vasquez to start game two – go get ‘em, kid!
  • Here’s the story from Reno, with quotes from Ryan Langerhans. It’s clear the Aces want to bury Tacoma today.
  • Las Vegas manager Marty Brown enjoyed his years managing in Japan.
  • Chris Carter hit two home runs and Sacramento will clinch its fifth consecutive division title with a victory tonight at Tucson. Fellow RG Johnny D is preparing for his annual beer shower…
  • From the Nashville paper, we finally have some reaction to that amazing triple play turned by Logan Schafer a couple of days ago (scroll down to see the incredible video).
  • Round Rock starter Mark Hamburger wasn’t exactly Awful, Awful – he got the win, and the Express clinch tonight with another win coupled with an Albuquerque loss.
  • Iowa shut out Oklahoma City behind former Mariners farmhand Austin Bibens-Dirkx. The I-Cubs lost a relief pitcher in a frisbee tossing incident.
  • Results from rehabilitating major leaguers can be mixed. Ryan Spilborghs had one of the best rehab games I’ve ever heard about: two home runs, including the walk-off three-run blast to win it for the Springs in the 10th inning.
  • Wily Peralta was dealing, but Nashville needed a tenth inning rally to beat Omaha.
  • It was 50-cent hot dog night in Albuquerque, and the ‘Topes always release the stats: 21,069 hot dogs sold to 6,675 fans, for an average of 3.16 hot dogs per fan. Oh, Albuquerque!

Let’s see if the Rainiers can salvage a game here. Aces Ballpark has been a house of horrors for the Rainiers ever since they opened this joint in 2009.


Desperation Time

August 22, 2011

Tacoma lost to Reno on Sunday afternoon, 4-2 – and now the Rainiers must win the final two games of this series just to maintain a longshot hope of winning the division title.

Tacoma had scoring opportunities early against Reno starter Zach Kroenke, who walked four batters in the first two innings. But Kroenke settled down after allowing two early runs, and he coasted through seven innings to earn the win.

The Rainiers had a good start from Nate Robertson, but he ended up taking the loss because of the team’s offensive struggles. Tacoma has scored just 18 runs during this six-game losing streak, for an average of just three runs per game.

Now the team is 7.5 games out of first with 15 to play. Win these next two, pull within 5.5 games, and then hope for a miracle down the stretch – that’s the only possible recipe for a Rainiers repeat now.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma ia scheduled to start LHP Anthony Vasquez (4-3, 3.21), but I won’t be surprised if Luke French is inserted into the rotation today – I guess we’ll find out in a few hours. Reno is slated to start ex-Tacoma RHP Gaby Hernandez (4-6, 6.49).

Cheap Tickets Alert: The Rainiers are doing a “roll back the prices to opening day 1960″ event at the start of the next homestand: on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week, tickets are just 50 cents for kids 12 and under. That’s how much they were for the first season at Cheney Stadium. You can get the details on the Rainiers official site.

Links:

Time to take the three-block walk (past three casino hotels, a train station, and a “men’s club”) to the ballpark.


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