Blake Beavan and Bobby LaFromboise combined on a four-hit shutout as Tacoma defeated Sacramento on Saturday night, 4-0.
The defeat eliminated Sacramento from playoff contention, and made Las Vegas champion of the Pacific-South division. This is news in the PCL, because Sacramento had won the division title six years in a row, and 11 times in the previous 13 years.
Beavan had his best outing of the year, striking out a season-high seven batters over seven innings. He allowed only three hits, and was only in trouble in his final inning.
Ty Kelly continued his hot hitting for the Rainiers, going 2-for-3 with a walk. He’s 9-for-14 in his last four games. He also drew a walk last night, which was his 102nd of the season – Kelly ranks tied for second in all of minor league baseball in walks.
It was also fun to see Leury Bonilla launch his first home run of the season. He hit one for the Rainiers last year, and last night he finally got one in 2013, pulling a Pat Neshek pitch down the left field line.
The win was Tacoma’s 75th of the year, which is the most the team has had since the 2008 club picked up 80 wins. Surprising, I know, but the 2010 PCL Championship team won only 74 regular-season games.
We’ll have roster moves today, because Danny Hultzen is coming off the disabled list to make the start. Hultzen will pitch one or two innings, and then be followed by regularly scheduled starter James Paxton. Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen was recalled by Seattle today, opening up a roster spot.
If you’re coming to the game today or tomorrow, keep an eye out for Sacramento shortstop Addison Russell. The 19-year-old was the A’s first-round draft pick last year, and he’s considered one of the top prospects in minor league baseball. He played the entire season (until yesterday) at Class-A Stockton, and the A’s pushed him to Triple-A for the final three games of the season. He went 0-for-3 last night.
Today’s game is at 1:35, 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 LHP Danny Hultzen (4-1, 2.20) against Sacramento RHP Travis Banwart (10-5, 4.43).
- Grant Clark inked the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune.
- My final minor league notebook of the year for the paper looks at the candidates for Mariners Minor League Player of the Year.
- No link, but Eric Wedge told Mariners reporters in Houston this morning that any additional September call-ups from Tacoma will not occur until after the Rainiers season ends tomorrow. Tom Wilhelmsen joined the Mariners today, and Mike Zunino meets them in Kansas City tomorrow (I think he is flying there today).
- Sacramento is losing some players today.
- The Mariners won their third game in a row and are going for a four-game road sweep of Houston today. Anyone in the PCL (where almost every series is four games) will tell you a four-game road sweep is no easy feat no matter how bad the opponent is.
- Ryan Divish’s notebook is about the red-hot Dustin Ackley, and Abraham Almonte‘s major league debut.
- Geoff Baker writes that Kendry Morales is open to returning to the Mariners next year (he’s a free agent after the season).
- This is the spot where we used to link to Larry Stone’s Sunday baseball package. So sad that it is gone. He has an article today about football, for crying out loud.
- So, I cast my eyes down the coast and found John Shea’s Sunday baseball column in San Francisco, which has speculation about what types of umpire calls will be challenged the most next year, plus some notes.
- Las Vegas clinched the Pac-South when Tacoma beat Sacramento – but just a few minutes later, the 51s finished off Tucson, 8-6, for what would have been a clincher even if Sacramento had won last night. Sounds like the post-game celebration included condiments. I’ve seen this happen before (hello, 2001 Rainiers), and it is *not* pretty.
- PCL Manager of the Year Keith Johnson got ejected late in Salt Lake’s 8-5 loss to Reno.
The Rainiers gained another game on the Beesaw, nevermind.
- Fresno’s Chris Dominguez launched a grand slam in the Grizzlies 7-1 win over Colorado Springs.
- Memphis took command of the American-North race by claiming a 7-3 win at Oklahoma City last night. Memphis has the tiebreaker over Omaha, so their “magic number” to clinch is one.
- Omaha lost to Round Rock in the 11th inning on Engel Beltre‘s home run, and the Storm Chasers fell one game behind Memphis.
- New Orleans rallied late to beat Albuquerque, 3-1.
- Nashville beat Iowa, 7-2.
- Story of the day: ever wonder what it is like being a Triple-A manager? Check out Rob White’s fantastic feature on longtime Omaha skipper Mike Jirschele.
This is just about it. Two games left, including today. Tickets are available – come out to the ballpark while you can!