It was “grand salami time” in Albuquerque on Thursday night, as Stefen Romero snapped a 2-2 tie with a grand slam off the right field foul pole, leading the Rainiers to a 6-2 victory at Albuquerque in the opening game of the road trip.
Romero’s grand slam was his third of the year, breaking the Tacoma single-season record. Many players have hit two in a year – over 25 have done the trick, most recently Mike Carp in 2011 – but Romero became the first player in Tacoma’s Triple-A history (since 1960) to hit three in a season.
It’s kind of amazing, really: Romero has hit only seven home runs this season, yet three of them have come with the bases juiced. He’s 6-for-16 with the bases loaded this season.
Romero is tied for the PCL lead in grand slams. Luis Rodriguez – yes, the former Rainiers and Mariners infielder – has also hit three salamis for Salt Lake.
The PCL record is within reach, although it would take quite a bit of fortune to tie. The record is five grand slams in a season, set by Pete LaForest of the Portland Beavers in 2007.*
Romero finished the game 3-for-4, with five RBI. He could be gearing up for a big road trip: he’s produced away from Cheney Stadium all year, batting .336 with six of his seven homers on the road.
Overshadowed by Romero’s grand slam: the Tacoma bullpen, which delivered four shutout, hitless innings last night. In particular, Logan Bawcom deserves a shout-out: he got the final four outs of the game, all on strikeouts, including striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth.
Tonight’s game is at 6:05 (Pacific), 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 Hector Noesi (3-1, 6.15) against Albuquerque RHP Matt Magill (4-0, 2.34).
- The Rainiers game story has reaction from manager John Stearns, including a description of just how close Romero’s slam was to being a foul ball.
- In a story for MiLB.com, Romero talks about how he was hoping the ball would stay fair. I plan to have Romero on the radio pregame show today, if he is willing.
- The Albuquerque newspaper reports that the beard himself – Brian Wilson – is expected to join the Isotopes today.
- The Mariners were off yesterday, so Ryan Divish provided us with an excellent piece on Brad Miller‘s shortstop defense.
- Another great off-day feature, this one from Larry Stone on Mariners reliever Danny Farquhar.
- A teenage shortstop at Low-A Clinton made this week’s edition of Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet. Ketel Marte – a name to file away.
- Former Rainiers outfielder Casper Wells is on the move again – his fifth team of the season.
- Brandon Bantz hitting himself in the head with his own helmet toss after his walkoff home run on Monday night is getting some attention.
- Salt Lake remained five games ahead of Tacoma by pummeling Round Rock, 16-6.
- The reeling Sky Sox lost their seventh in a row, 6-1 to the red-hot Nashville Sounds.
- Shane Peterson homered in the ninth to give Sacramento a 6-4 win at Omaha.
- Las Vegas remained one game behind Sacramento by creaming Oklahoma City, 12-3. That ended the RedHawks win streak at 12.
- You can tell Tucson is dropping out of contention because they have changed the narrative to “winning isn’t everything.”
- A young Cubs prospect delivered the goods in his Triple-A debut, beating Fresno 2-1.
- Memphis at Reno was suspended in the first inning due to rain, they’ll play two today.
- We have a detailed look at the design of the new ballpark in El Paso.
Let’s see if the Rainiers can make it two in a row. Noesi was great in his last outing – six shutout innings – can he follow is up with a strong one in a difficult place to pitch?
* I was surprised to learn that this was the record; I felt surely somebody in the 1930s hit seven or eight in a year – most PCL records are crazy, because of the long seasons the league used to play.