Rainiers Edge Aces, Go For Series Win

The Rainiers pulled out a thrilling 4-3 victory in Reno last night, using great pitching and some terrific defense to put away the Aces.

The winning run scored on a wild play, which is what the game story (first link down below) focuses on.

Leury Bonilla made the play of the year in the bottom of the ninth, racing into foul ground and lunging into the crowd to catch a pop fly to retire PCL batting leader Mike Jacobs with the tying run on base.

On the pitching side, Chance Ruffin started and allowed three runs (two earned) over four innings. He was a bit better this time out, keeping the ball in the ballpark and holding Reno to one run until the fifth inning.

Two runs scored in the fifth to tie it 3-3, and Reno had the bases loaded with nobody out when Jonathan Arias relieved Ruffin. Arias pulled a ‘Houdini’ by escaping the jam with no runs scoring – and then he followed that up with two more scoreless innings. It was easily the best game of the season so far for Arias.

The Rainiers improved to 17-13 on the year, marking the first time the club has been four games over .500 this season.

The Rainiers have won two straight games in Reno for the second time ever. Tacoma has never won a series in Reno – they need a win either today or tomorrow to change that.

Thursday’s game starts at 6:35 – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 6:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Zach Miner (0-1, 9.00) against Reno RHP Zeke Spruill (0-1, 5.50).

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune focuses on the strange way Tacoma scored the winning run.
  • The Mariners split a doubleheader in Oakland, completing a nine-game road trip in which the team went 7-2.
  • Erasmo Ramirez had a good start in the second game, but is now returning to Tacoma. All that and more can be found in Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook.
  • The Mariners Low-A Clinton affiliate pulled off the most amazing comeback I have ever heard of: down 17-1 after five full innings, they rallied to beat Burlington in 12 innings, 20-17. The game has received national attention, from the likes of Sports Illustrated’s Jay Jaffe, and Deadspin. There is lots of player reaction in this piece from MiLB.com. The Fangraphs story includes a ridiculous Win Expectancy chart.
  • The Clinton game overshadowed the first no-hitter in the Pacific Coast League since 2009, which happened yesterday in New Orleans. Iowa’s Chris Rusin walked two and struck out three during his 118-pitch masterpiece, which was saved with a diving catch by center fielder Matt Szczur for the final out of the game. This story has quotes from Rusin, and this one has a photo gallery.
  • Salt Lake’s bullpen collapsed and Las Vegas scored a 7-5 comeback win last night. The Salt Lake paper has a story on infielder Taylor Lindsey and draft day.
  • Nick “Chili” Buss switched dugouts and helped Sacramento end a five-game losing streak with an 8-7 win at Albuquerque.
  • El Paso topped Fresno for the second day in a row, this time by a 6-2 score. Fresno’s Adam Duvall launched his tenth homer of the season.
  • Ben Paulsen helped Colorado Springs beat Nashville, 9-5.
  • Oregon Omaha starter Aaron Brooks earned his first Triple-A victory with a 6-3 win at Round Rock.
  • Oklahoma City drew over 10,000 fans for a Field Trip Day game yesterday, but the team lost to Memphis 8-1.
  • We’ll finish with Baseball America’s minor league round-up.

Tacoma has held Reno to three total runs in the first two games of this series. Let’s see if they can keep up the excellent pitching in the PCL’s best hitters ballpark.

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