After back-to-back hitless games, Darren Ford had a monster game on Sunday in Tucson.
First, the background: Ford broke his finger in a hotel room door accident on opening day, and did not join the Rainiers active roster until mid-June. He proceeded to go on a big run at the plate, hitting safely in 31 of his first 33 games, taking the starting center field job.
The last two games he went hitless, going 0-for-8. He actually looked bad at the plate, and I was secretly wondering if maybe it was all coming down for Ford. After all, he has never torn up Triple-A before – this is his first extended play at the level.
Ford answered my concerns by going 4-for-5 with a double, a grand slam, two stolen bases, two runs scored, and six RBI in Tacoma’s 8-7 victory at Tucson on Saturday night.
He even scored the winning run on a “Darren Ford Rally” in the top of the ninth: he led off with a single to left, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Franklin, and with two outs he scored on a wild pitch.
The wild pitch came on an intentional ball to Luis Jimenez. Tucson reliever Miles Mikolas was ordered to issue an intentional walk, to get a right vs. right match-up with Alex Liddi. His first wide one was a rain-maker over the head of the catcher, and a surprised Ford raced home and scored the go-ahead run.
This was the second time this year we have seen an extremely costly wild pitch on an intentional walk. Rainiers reliever Brian Moran allowed the tying run to score on the exact same play on July 6 in Salt Lake City.
So, the Rainiers are 1-1 in Games Decided By Wild Pitches Uncorked During Intentional Walks. Add that to your stat pack, Ben Spradling.
Today, Tacoma plays a doubleheader at Tucson, beginning at 6:05. In game one, Tacoma starts RHP Hector Noesi (0-2, 10.54) against Tucson RHP Jorge Reyes (7-9, 5.30). In game two, it’s Tacoma RHP David Pauley (1-0, 1.93) against an unannounced Tucson pitcher.
As always, you can catch the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here.
- We start with my Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. In the Tucson paper, Padres manager Terry Kennedy called it a Mental Toughness Day.
- My Minor League Notebook for the paper has notes on shortstops recently promoted in the Mariners farm system, hot Double-A starter Taijuan Walker, and an item on Rainiers opening day starter Matt Fox. Updated: Fox was activated from the disabled list today, and sent to Double-A Jackson.
- The Mariners won their third in a row and are 9-4 over the last 13 games.
- Geoff Baker has a bit on the Mariners outfield situation now that Ichiro is gone.
- Larry Stone’s Sunday baseball package has a column on the Mariners Hall of Fame inductions, a notebook full of trade deadline stuff, power rankings, and thumbs up-and-down.
- In the PCL, Reno got blasted at home by Sacramento, 13-4. Reno has an exciting young pitching prospect in Tyler Skaggs.
- Las Vegas held off Salt Lake, 7-2, to remain 2.5 games behind Sacramento in the South.
- Colorado Springs knocked off Fresno, 10-1, and pulled within 6.5 games of Reno in the North.
- Alex Castellanos homered twice and Albuquerque ripped Nashville at Greer Stadium, 13-3.
- Recently traded pitching prospect Jacob Turner earned the win in his New Orleans Zephyrs debut last night.
- Oklahoma City had a mammoth home run from Brett Wallace and beat Omaha, 6-2.
DONT FORGET: the big food truck festival, with over 30 food trucks, is in the Cheney Stadium parking lot today. Free entrance, free parking. Grab some lunch and report back – I want to hear about it!