Anybody who says that they saw this one coming is either a liar, or a relentless optimist.
Trailing 9-5 and hitless for the previous four innings, Tacoma rallied for five runs in the top of the ninth and stunned Tucson on Tuesday night, 10-9.
It was an incredible comeback for a team that needed something – anything – good to happen after dropping the last three games in Las Vegas.
The blow-by-blow of the ninth inning rally is in the Rainiers game story I wrote for The News Tribune – it’s the first link down below. For this post, I’m going to focus on two other things.
First, the Rainiers offense – which I complained about yesterday – came alive early in the game. Tacoma scored five runs on 11 hits over the first four innings against Tucson starter Colt Hynes. But when Hynes left the game at the end of the fourth, the Rainiers were hitless until the ninth.
With the rally, Tacoma finished with 10 runs on 16 hits. If the Rainiers had not scored in the ninth, and went down in order, they still would have had five runs on 11 hits – and I’d be saying that was progress. This was a good offensive game without the ninth.
Tacoma has two hitters who are heating up: Trayvon Robinson was 2-for-5 with a double, a run, and an RBI, and he’s hit safely in six straight games; and Scott Savastano hit a pair of doubles and he has also hit in six straight games, going 9-for-19 during that stretch.
Second, the bullpen deserves massive props. Sean Henn, Josh Kinney, and Shawn Kelley combined to pitch five shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks. This put the Rainiers in position to win.
Kelley has been particularly impressive. He has a 1.32 ERA, and in 13.2 innings he’s given up 6 hits and 4 walks while striking out 18.
It was the Rainiers first shocking comeback of the year, at a time when the club really needed it.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and Tacoma sends RHP Jarrett Grube (0-1, 9.64) to the mound against Tucson RHP Josh Geer (2-3, 7.30). The broadcast airs on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streams online right here.
I always check the weather reports for the cities that we visit on the road, to figure out what to pack and to see if its cooling off enough at night to require a coat. The forecast for Tucson today was 94 degrees and “abundant sun.”
Can you imagine if the weather used such adjectives in forecasts for Tacoma? It would read something like “43 degrees, abundant drizzle” or “48 degrees, excessive gray.”
- We lead off with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, which includes the blow-by-blow of the big ninth inning rally.
- According to this story on Carlos Quentin, the Rainiers will only have to deal with him for three innings tonight, and not at all tomorrow.
- The Mariners losses always seem to be frustrating – not just because they lost, but because of how they lost. Yesterday’s game in Tampa fit right in with the rest.
- John McGrath writes that the end is near for Chone Figgins.
- From Larry LaRue’s notebook: Mike Carp is happy to be back in the big leagues, and some crazy Mariners (read: relief pitchers) climbed in the catwalks at the Trop.
- The Mariners are only scoring on solo home runs because that one fan found that old man’s monkey paw. I knew it was something like this!*
- Former Rainiers and Mariners pitcher Travis Blackley is back in the big leagues – way to go, Travis!
- Larry Stone has another story on his visit to the Mariners Double-A team in Jackson, Tennessee – and this time he focuses on the hitting prospects.
- For ESPN Insiders, here is an article on the Top 5 potential #1 starters in the minor leagues. The Mariners have the top-ranked prospect.
- In his ESPN Insider column (mandatory daily reading for me), Buster Olney notes that the Oakland A’s plan to activate Manny Ramirez on May 30, and Manny will be allowed to “rehabilitate” in the minors for ten days before that. Manny should be with Sacramento May 20-29.
- Yes, I would pay extra tax to fix the roads in Tacoma. Sheesh, the potholes are so prevalent where I live, it’s like a war-torn nation or something. Let’s have a little pride and fix our awful street surfaces.**
- In the PCL, a couple of guys who started the season in the Major Leagues helped Sacramento blast Colorado Springs.
- Fresno came back from a 5-run deficit to beat Salt Lake, 9-7. Salt Lake has lost six in a row, the last five after the call-up of Mike Trout.
- Round Rock has moved lefty Michael Kirkman into the starting rotation to try to have him gain some consistency.
- Iowa ripped 20 hits and blasted Memphis, 13-4. Brett Jackson was 4-for-5 with four runs scored.
- Nashville had a good start from Willy Peralta and beat Omaha, 8-5. The Sounds are trying to bounce back from the worst April record in Triple-A baseball.
- A former Rainiers player was fired from his job as the Detroit Tigers clubhouse DJ. Oh, the shame!
- It was pointed out to me that yesterday I linked to the incorrect Jim Flavin when referencing the lead actor in the Rainiers video for the $5 ticket promotion on the upcoming homestand. In fact, the Jim Flavin I linked to yesterday is deceased. Whoops! The real Jim Flavin who appears in the video is this one.
That was certainly a stirring win last night – can’t wait to see what happens tonight!
* Jeff Sullivan is a treasure and we must enjoy him while we’ve got him.
** My favorite Tacoma pothole is the recurring 10,000 foot crevasse in the round-about at Stevens and North 38th. Every time they fill it, it redevelops in a few weeks – and my left front tire hits it every time I go around, even though I know it’s there.