Out Of The Cellar

Tacoma beat Fresno on Saturday night, 7-2, for the Rainiers third consecutive victory.

This win moved Tacoma past Fresno in the standings, and pulled the Rainiers out of last place in the Pacific-North division standings for the first time since May 15.

The Rainiers are on an extended streak of good play. Tacoma has gone 20-10 over the last 30 games, and has pulled within three games of .500 at 46-49 overall.

Yesterday Taijuan Walker started, Jesus Montero hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and Tacoma took advantage of Fresno mistakes to add four runs in the fifth.

Walker survived without his best stuff. He made it through five innings and allowed one run, with one walk and one strikeout. He threw 83 pitches (50 strikes) and came away with the victory.

Walker is scheduled to start the first game after the break in Reno on Thursday, and he will be in line to resume his role as the Mariners fifth starter after that.

Today the Rainiers go for their fourth straight win, and a series sweep. That would be a fantastic way to go into the all-star break!

Sunday’s game starts at 1:35 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 1:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Matt Palmer (1-7, 5.12) against Fresno RHP Mitch Lively (6-4, 5.12).

The all-star break starts after Sunday’s game, and the Rainiers are off until Thursday when the season resumes in Reno.

This blog will take Monday and Tuesday off, but I’ll post something in advance of the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday (the game is at 4:00 (Pacific), televised on MLB Network and radio on 850 AM).

In the meantime, here’s my rooting interest for the all-star break:

  • Monday: I’m pulling for ex-Rainiers outfielder Adam Jones to win the MLB Home Run Derby.
  • Tuesday: we need the American League to win the MLB all-star game, securing home field advantage for the Mariners upcoming World Series run.
  • Wednesday: final score Pacific Coast League 34, International League 0. And at least one Rainiers player hits a homer off the bull and wins a steak.

Links:

  • In the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune, Taijuan Walker says that he didn’t have his good fastball last night.
  • My minor league notebook for the TNT previews the Triple-A All-Star Game.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook includes an item on James Paxton, who will be joining the Rainiers shortly after the all-star break if things go well.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma was dealing on his own bobblehead night and the Mariners beat the A’s.
  • The MLB Futures Game is today and Mariners prospects Gabriel Guerrero and DJ Peterson are scheduled to be in the starting lineup. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times is there, so he should have some good stuff coming on his Mariners blog later.
  • The Times has a big section on Felix Hernandez and his ten years with the Mariners. Lots of good stuff here: Larry Stone has a column on Felix’s past and future, Ryan Divish has an in-depth feature, retired all-star Michael Young talks about the poker game of batting against Felix, and Mike Zunino discusses catching Felix.
  • There is an awesome display of historical baseball letters currently showing in Tacoma, John McGrath writes. I’ve got to check this out.
  • McGrath’s MLB rankings are an excellent way to get caught up on the current landscape in the big leagues.
  • Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez tossed a gem for Double-A Jackson last night.
  • In the PCL, Sacramento’s lead in the Pac-North is up to 5.5 games after another win against second-place Reno. The Aces ain’t helping the Rainiers at all right now.
  • Las Vegas lost in the late innings to Albuquerque, 6-5, but all-star Allan Dykstra is going to try to hit the bull in Durham at the Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby.
  • Grant Green‘s pinch-hit RBI double gave Salt Lake a ten-inning win at El Paso last night. The Chicken is 40 and Ted G. is 60, but they’ll make a rare appearance at tonight’s Chihuahuas game. It’s amazing that Ted can still do this at 60 – he’s going to do his full show, and it’s always 100 degrees in El Paso.
  • After a rough initial stint in the majors, top prospect Andrew Heaney‘s struggles continued as New Orleans lost to Memphis, 5-2.
  • The Sky Sox game – and even worse, Used Car Night – were both suspended due to rain last night.
  • Oklahoma City and Iowa split a doubleheader in Des Moines. I-Cubs slugger Kris Bryant is in the starting lineup in today’s Futures Game.
  • Nashville’s bullpen was blazing in a 5-3 win over Round Rock. Sounds pitchers had 15 strikeouts.

That’s it until Wednesday. See ya’ in a few days!

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