Gillespie, Bullpen Lead Rainiers To Comeback Win

One day after letting a close game get away, the Rainiers rebounded in a big way on Saturday and picked up a 9-7 comeback win in Albuquerque.

Tacoma trailed 6-1 after five innings, but Cole Gillespie got them back into it with a two-run homer in the top of the sixth. Gillespie also singled home the tying run in the seventh inning, and his double started the game-winning rally in the top of the ninth.

Andrew Carraway was a surprise starting pitcher for Tacoma, getting bumped up one day in the rotation. I didn’t know he was pitching until I arrived at the park; apparently the decision was made early in the morning.

Carraway didn’t allow a hit or run through three innings, but he was doomed by a five-run fourth.

After Carraway left the game with two outs in the fifth, the Rainiers bullpen took over and made the comeback possible.

Zach Miner, Logan Kensing, and Carson Smith delivered 4.1 innings of quality relief, allowing just one unearned run in a difficult pitching environment. Kensing earned the win, and Smith picked up his first Triple-A save.

The offense banged out 14 hits. Gillespie and James Jones each had three hits, and Nick Franklin had a pair. Ji-Man Choi singled once and walked three times, reaching base in 4-of-5 trips.

The Rainiers haven’t won two in a row yet this season. Let’s see if they can take care of that today.

Sunday’s game is at 12:35 (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show starts at 12:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Chance Ruffin (0-1, 14.41) against Albuquerque RHP Red Patterson (0-0, 5.40).


  • We’ll start with the Rainiers game story, once again without quotes because of a long game and an earlier-than-usual deadline.
  • The Dodgers latest Cuban signing is infielder Alex Guerrero, and he was activated from the disabled list and is expected to debut for Albuquerque today.
  • My minor league notebook for the TNT looks at Gabriel Guerrero and D.J. Peterson down at Class-A High Desert.
  • Blake Beavan is getting the call to Seattle, filling James Paxton‘s rotation spot. Meanwhile, Taijuan Walker will continue his rehabilitation with Tacoma. Rainiers manager Roy Howell does not yet know which day Walker will start.
  • The Mariners lost on Saturday to Sonny Gray and the Oakland A’s, 3-1.
  • Ryan Divish has a Sunday MLB notebook and an ex-Mariner of the week.
  • Jerry Brewer has a column on the Mariners early solid play and the doubtful fan base. It is a strange moment in time right now.
  • John McGrath loves the ongoing “Kings Court” and occasional “Supreme Court” at Safeco Field.
  • The new trend in the majors is to have your best hitter bat second in the lineup. Good stuff from John Shea.
  • Ex-Rainiers slugger Mike Morse is becoming popular in San Francisco, and today he was the subject of an Ann Killion feature.
  • Did you hear about Raul Ibanez‘s 2,000th career hit? It was a pinch-hit, game-tying three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning last night. He’ll get a plaque at Cheney Stadium someday.
  • In the PCL, new Sacramento shortstop Tyler Ladendorf went 3-for-3 with three RBI in a 5-4 win over Salt Lake.
  • Reno ripped El Paso in Tucson, 11-1. Three Chihuahuas were ejected, all by the same umpire, and the group included rehabilitating major leaguer Cameron Maybin. Reno manager Phil Nevin is the subject of a Sunday feature. << excellent story alert!
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and pitched scoreless ball for seven innings in Fresno last night – although he was gone by the time Las Vegas won the game in a tenth inning homer by Kirk Nieuwenhuis, 1-0.
  • Iowa starter Tsuyoshi Wada punched out ten in a 5-0 win at Memphis.
  • Round Rock snapped an 11-11 tie by scoring five runs in the 9th to beat Colorado Springs, 16-12. Somebody needs to check the humidor at Security Service Field – the two games there have been 11-10 and 16-12.
  • To the surprise of nobody who followed the Nolan Ryan saga last winter, there are already reports that the Round Rock Express will switch affiliations from Texas back to Houston after the season.
  • Speaking of the Astros, several of their top prospects are currently with Oklahoma City. Jon Singleton is one of them, and he had four RBI in a 12-1 woopin’ of New Orleans last night.
  • Nashville picked up a 5-2 home victory over Omaha.
  • Cody Decker‘s latest film details a weeks-long prank the Chihuahuas played on teammate Jeff Francoeur. This started in spring training and they finally came clean with him during the series at Cheney Stadium last week – the revelation at the end of the movie took place in the visitor’s locker room. Truly a herculean effort by Jorge Reyes and the rest of the club.

OK, boys, let’s start a winning streak.


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