Tacoma was going for its third straight win over first-place Reno last night, in a continued effort to tighten up the Northern Division race going into the final two weeks of the season.
The Rainiers took an early 5-0 lead after four innings, and Erasmo Ramirez appeared to be cruising along toward victory.
Everything changed in the top of the fifth inning, when Reno rallied for five runs after there were two outs, tying the game 5-5.
We moved into the late innings with the score still tied, until Josh Bell hit a two-out opposite field homer off Brian Moran in the seventh, giving Reno a 6-5 lead.
The Rainiers put the tying runner in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings – but could not get the clutch hit needed to tie the game, and the Aces held on for the victory.
Reno needed the win badly. Second place Colorado Springs also won; they would have pulled within three games of first if Reno lost. The victory was only the second in the last ten games for the stumbling Aces.
Tacoma has never won a series against Reno. The Aces joined the PCL in 2009, and the all-time series between Tacoma and Reno is heavily tilted in favor of the Aces. The Rainiers can get their first-ever series win against Reno with a victory tonight.
Last night after the game I jokingly tried to fire up Rainiers manager Daren Brown to manage tonight’s game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series – and I think he might do it. Brown is well aware of the fact that the Rainiers have never won a series against Reno – he’s been here on the receiving end of it the whole time!
Tonight’s game is at 7:05 and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP D.J. Mitchell (0-2, 3.26) against Reno LHP Zach Kroeneke (6-3, 5.66).
- We lead off with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- Michael Saunders went off and the Mariners defeated the Indians last night, 5-3. That’s six in a row, eight of nine, a 23-13 record since the all-star break. Most impressively to me, after all of that complaining about fences, the Mariners have won 13 of the last 14 home games. Nobody is talking about fences now.
- In preview of tonight’s Mariners game, Larry Stone has a blog post investigating how pitchers did in their first start immediately after throwing a perfect game.
- If you are into coins as collectibles, the Felix Hernandez perfect game coin sounds pretty cool.
- ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” has a long, at times difficult to read (because of the subject matter), and extremely sad story about former Rainiers outfielder Greg Halman‘s final days. You can read it here if you would like to. It’s really well-written and it will answer any questions you may have about what happened.
- In the PCL, Colorado Springs kept pace with Reno by blasting Salt Lake, 12-5.
- Carlos Hernandez pitched Sacramento to a crucial 2-0 victory over Las Vegas last night. Vegas is 4.5 games back and must win tonight to have a realistic shot of catching Sacramento in the final two weeks. Sacramento is trying to win its sixth straight division title.
- Fresno infielder Nick Noonan is hoping for his first major league call-up. Tucson beat the Grizzlies, 6-2.
- New Orleans pulled within three games of first place Albuquerque in the American-South by ripping the Isotopes, 20-10. Luke Montz hit a pair of dingers, giving him 29 on the season.
- Crafty veteran Claudio Vargas of Nashville shut down the playoff bound Omaha Storm Chasers.
- The Iowa Cubs played under the watchful eye of the Chicago Cubs owner.
- Martin Perez tossed a complete game and the Round Rock Express edged Oklahoma City in a pitcher’s duel.
- R.I.P. Ivan The Gorilla.
After tonight’s series final with Reno, the Rainiers welcome Las Vegas to town for the final five home games of the season. Come on out to the ballpark while you still can!