Gutierrez, Rainiers Blast Aces

Tacoma ripped four home runs and blasted Reno on Tuesday night, 14-5. The victory gave Tacoma a three-games-to-one series victory over the Aces – Tacoma’s first ever series win against Reno, which joined the league in 2009.

Franklin Gutierrez led the way with two homers. The rehabilitating Mariners outfielder hit a three-run homer in the second inning, and added a two-run shot in the sixth. Both of his homers went to the opposite field.

When Gutierrez started his rehab five days ago, the thought was that he would probably be here until rosters expand on September 1. After last night’s game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in Seattle sooner.

Also last night, Luis Jimenez had three hits including his 20th homer of the season, and Guillermo Quiroz was 3-for-5 with a home run of his own.

The Rainiers did their part to play spoiler, handing first-place Reno three losses. However, neither Colorado Springs nor Salt Lake took up their role. They ended up splitting their four-game series, so the Sky Sox are four games out and Salt Lake is five games back with 13 to play.

Reno won the season series against Tacoma, 11-5. But it was 10-0; the Rainiers won five of the final six games against the Aces. Perhaps that is a good sign going into next year – Reno has given the Rainiers fits since entering the league.

Now the Rainiers open a Nine Game Mega Series against the Las Vegas 51s. The first five games will be held at Cheney Stadium, ending with the 2012 home final on Sunday. Then the series moves to Las Vegas for the last four games.

It is Tacoma’s second Nine Game Mega Series of the season – the Rainiers edged Tucson, five games to four, to take home their first-ever Nine Game Mega Series Trophy at the end of July.

This is not the only Nine Game Mega Series starting today – Reno and Fresno play one, too.

Why the PCL office schedules these things is beyond my comprehension, but we might as well have fun with them.

Vegas comes to town on the heels of two straight losses at Sacramento. They won the first two games there, pulling within 3.5 games of first, but now are 5.5 back and their playoff hopes are on life support. The Rainiers can polish ’em off.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and the broadcast is on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Andrew Carraway (4-7, 4.70) against Las Vegas RHP Sean O’Sullivan (9-1, 2.18 with LV; 14-5, 4.15 in the PCL this year).

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See you at the ballpark!

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