Colorado Springs won the third game of the showdown for first place in the Pac-North, a 10-8 decision on Thursday night.
The Rainiers three-game win streak ended, and Tacoma’s lead in the division was trimmed down to a half-game. Whoever wins the final game of the series tonight will be in first place.
After three innings at Security Service Field, it looked like the Sky Sox were set on getting full revenge for the 25-6 drubbing the Rainiers handed them on Wednesday. The Sky Sox had a 9-3 lead, and the Rainiers “bullpen day” was quickly starting to look like a disaster.
But Tacoma relievers managed to allow just one run over the next five innings, and the Tacoma offense was the run-scoring machine that it has been all year. The PCL’s top offense tightened the gap down to two runs in the ninth, and the Rainiers loaded the bases with two outs for Dustin Ackley.
Ackley was hot. He was 7-for-11 with three walks in his last two games. Sky Sox closer Coty Woods looked like he was on the ropes.
Ackley worked the count, found a pitch he liked, and drove a fly ball to deep right field.
In the high elevation of Colorado Springs (6,531 feet above sea level), every deep fly ball looks like a homer. This one did off the bat, too – I thought for a moment that Ackley had just hit a grand slam to give the Rainiers the lead. But the ball settled into the glove of Sky Sox right fielder Corey Dickerson, who was a step in front of the warning track, and that was the ballgame.
The Rainiers will try to win the series in the final game of the road trip tonight at 6:05 (Pacific). Tacoma starts RHP Blake Beavan (3-2, 4.35) against Sky Sox ace LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-1, 4.02). The broadcast airs on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streams online right here.
A word on Corey Dickerson: this guy can play. He’s a Triple-A rookie, and was the Colorado Rockies Minor League Player Of The Year winner last year at Class-A and AA. He’s a left-handed hitting leadoff man with power – he already has ten triples and seven home runs this season, to go with a .360 batting average.
Now Dickerson does play in Colorado Springs, so we have to do a home/away breakdown:
- HOME: 419/455/774 1.230 OPS, 5 triples 5 homers
- AWAY: 308/333/496 .829 OPS, 5 triples 2 homers
OK, that’s a big split – no surprise, all Sky Sox players have big splits (except for reverse-split Ryan Wheeler for some reason). Still, the away numbers look pretty solid, and on the field he passes the “eye test” and looks like a promising player. He’s someone to follow.
- I wrote the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune.
- The story from the Colorado Springs Gazette has quotes from Sky Sox players regarding bouncing back from the huge loss.
- We see you, Nick Franklin. Two home runs down in San Diego? Nice game, kid.
- John McGrath has a column on the future of Mariners manager Eric Wedge.
- You will not find any Mariners on this week’s edition of the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.
- In the PCL, it was grand slams galore last night. Andy Parrino hit a grand slam for Sacramento, but the River Cats lost to Salt Lake, 9-5.
- The Sacramento paper has a feature on A’s top prospect Michael Choice.
- Las Vegas took the Reno Aces to the woodshed, 11-1.
- A couple of major leaguers on rehab couldn’t help Tucson against the Fresno home run barrage last night.
- It was grand salami time for Sean Halton as his Nashville Sounds wiped out Iowa, 6-1.
- Albuquerque’s Rusty Ryal hit a grand slam in the Isotopes 7-5 win at Memphis.
- Former Rainiers lefty Ryan Feierabend delivered six shutout innings in the opener as his Round Rock Express swept a doubleheader in New Orleans.
- Oklahoma City starter Asher W tossed a gem in a 8-1 win over Omaha.
- They broke ground on the new ballpark in El Paso. We’ll see you next year, El Paso ____s.
- The Triple-A All-Star Game is in Reno this year, and tickets are on sale now if you are planning a trip.
Can’t wait to get home to Cheney Stadium tomorrow – we are supposed to have some beautiful weather on this homestand, so plan on coming out to the ballpark.