Tacoma first baseman Rich Poythress had his second huge game in the last week, hitting two home runs including a walk-off shot in the Rainiers 6-5 win over Tucson on Thursday night.
The victory gave Tacoma a series victory over Tucson (three games to one), and kept Tacoma within one game of the streaking Salt Lake Bees.
Poythress hit a two-run homer in the fourth, doubled in the sixth, and then pulled his game-winning blast in the tenth.
It was the second two-homer game since the all-star break for Poythress, who is hitting .364 (8-for-22) with four homers and 11 RBI in six games since the break.
Poythress’s big game took the spotlight from starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, who struggled for his first time at the Triple-A level.
After four starts holding the opponent to either one or zero runs, Walker gave up five in five innings.
Still, there were stretches where he looked outstanding: in the first three innings, he retired nine of the ten batters to come to the plate – six via strikeout. He hung a breaking ball to former Rainiers slugger Mike Wilson, and we all know what happens when a pitcher does that: dinger.
It was the fourth inning when he struggled. With two on and two out, he allowed four straight batters to reach base – the bottom four in the Tucson lineup – and four runs crossed the plate. It appeared to me that he was simply leaving pitches up in the strike zone during this stretch.
After Walker left, four Tacoma relievers combined to toss five shutout innings to help the club to the victory. Brian Sweeney, Carter Capps, Bobby LaFromboise, and Josh Kinney did the work.
Rainiers catcher Jason Jaramillo contributed a huge hit: a two-out, two-strike RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game, 5-5.
Now the team moves on to Reno, to face the last-place Aces. However, it was the Aces who swept Tacoma in the four-game series at Cheney Stadium heading into the all-star break, sending Tacoma into a tailspin in which they lost eight out of ten games.
Reno is back to plummeting in the standings, though: they just played an EIGHT GAME MEGA SERIES against Las Vegas, and lost seven of ’em – including the last five in a row. Their pitching has not been strong – they have given up 10+ runs in three of the last five games.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, streaming right here, and available via the TuneIn app for iPads and smart phones. Tacoma starts RHP Blake Beavan (4-3, 5.10) against rehabilitating
twitter star Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Brandon McCarthy (0-0, 12.46).
- The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune is chock-full-of Poythress.
- The Mariners clubbed the Twins, Ryan Divish writes. They’ve won nine of the last ten games.
- Chris Nelson helped the Salt Lake Bees win their sixth in a row. Salt Lake opens a series at Tucson tonight.
- Colorado Springs is dropping in the standings, after getting walked off by Sacramento last night.
- Las Vegas edged Reno, 5-3, and has now won eight of its last nine games.
That’s all of the links for today, due to PCL travel. Will have updates for you all weekend!