Two Down, Two To Go

The Rainiers completed Step No. 2 of the four-step plan to division title contention on Tuesday night, defeating first-place Salt Lake 7-1.

The Rainiers have won the first two games of the series, pulling within three game of the Bees. Two more wins, and Tacoma will be just one game out of first with four to play, and in possession of the tiebreaker.

James Paxton was in complete command last night, coasting through eight innings while allowing just five singles and one (unearned) run. He issued just one walk and struck out seven.

It was a return to July’s form for Paxton. That month he dominated every five days and posted a 1.80 ERA. He had a couple of rough outings at the beginning of August, but has improved lately and then last night happened.

Offensively, Rich Poythress had the big hit – a two-out, two-run double in the third inning to give Tacoma a 3-1 lead. Poythress added a solo homer later and went 3-for-4 with three RBI.

Ji-Man Choi connected on another home run – this time a two-run shot to right after Poythress’s double. Choi went 3-for-4 and has five hits over the last two games.

Mariners catcher Mike Zunino started his rehabilitation assignment and contributed a triple and a walk while catching five innings. I expect Zunino to be with the Rainiers through Saturday at least.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05 (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 Andrew Carraway (6-7, 5.37) against Salt Lake LHP Dontrelle Willis (1-1, 5.74).

Links:

  • We’ll start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • We have video of Mike Zunino‘s triple to center last night.
  • Seven Mariners prospects are going to the Arizona Fall League, including Rainiers Danny Hultzen and Stefen Romero. Hultzen threw a simulated game at Cheney yesterday and hopes to pitch an inning in a real game this weekend.
  • The Mariners lost on a tenth inning balk.
  • Toledo broadcaster Jim Weber called his 5,000th consecutive game. Not “just” 5,000 games – 5,000 games without missing one. I tip my microphone to you, Jim. << this story has a good Jose Lima / Eric Wedge anecdote.
  • The Chicago White Sox executive who orchestrated the signing-bonus kickback scandal got two years in the federal penitentiary.
  • At the bottom of this report, Baseball America has a list of the all-minors home run and strikeout leaders. Taijuan Walker is tied for fourth in the minors in strikeouts.
  • Nashville’s Johnny Hellweg was named PCL Pitcher of the Year. He had a great season, but I voted for Sonny Gray instead due to Hellweg’s lofty walk total.
  • Las Vegas saw its lead in the Pacific-South trimmed to 2.5 games after losing a crazy game in Colorado Springs.
  • Sacramento edged Fresno to pick up ground on the 51s.
  • Tucson was blown out by Reno 10-1, but several Padres are in line for a major league promotion.
  • Oklahoma City was the first team to clinch a playoff spot, and manager Tony D was prepared – he brought his goggles.
  • Omaha lost to Iowa and now leads the American-North by just one game.
  • Memphis pulled within one game of first be picking up an 8-2 win at New Orleans.
  • Albuquerque is finishing its first season using a baseball humidor – here’s a review.

Off to the ballpark – let’s see if the Rainiers can keep this going!

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