Facing the prospect of being swept in a four-game series right before the home opener, the Tacoma Rainiers responded with their best-pitched game of the season in an 11-inning, 3-1 victory over Albuquerque on Thursday afternoon.
Sam Gaviglio, Logan Bawcom, Mark Lowe, and Justin Germano combined to limit the Isotopes to five hits over 11 innings.
The stellar joint effort by the four pitchers enabled the Rainiers to get a win by taking advantage of two Albuquerque fielding mistakes in the top of the 11th.
This team needed the win.
Tacoma had lost four straight games, and amazingly all four of them were one-run defeats. In each game, the Rainiers opponent won in its final at-bat – and two of them came on walk-off homers.
Thursday’s game was the first close win the Rainiers have secured this season. The other two victories came by scores of 10-2 and 17-5.
So now it’s time for the home opener, tonight. Listed start time is 7:05, but that’s when the opening ceremonies will begin. I’ve been told that we should expect a good show before the game even starts – so make sure you’re in your seats at the top of the hour.
For radio and webstream listeners/viewers, we’ll be starting the Rainiers pregame show at 7:15.
Yesterday: The Rainiers snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Albuquerque in the 11th inning, 3-1. Sam Gaviglio carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and left at the end of the frame with the score tied, 1-1. Leury Bonilla doubled to open the 11th and scored when Albuquerque pitcher Simon Castro threw the ball away after fielding a James Jones bunt.
Today: El Paso (4-4) at Tacoma (3-5) 7:30 PM (Pacific).
Opponent Affiliation: El Paso is the San Diego Padres farm club.
Season Series: 2-2. The two teams split a four-gamer in El Paso to open the season.
Starting Pitchers: LHP Mike Kickham (0-0, 10.38) vs. RHP James Needy (0-0, 12.27)
This is a rematch of Sunday’s game, which was the final game of the season-opening four-game series in El Paso. The Chihuahuas won, 7-6, but neither starting pitcher was around when El Paso scored the winning run in the eighth. Kickham had trouble with walks, while the Rainiers were able to hit Needy around a bit.
Rehabber: Chris Taylor played the entire game at shortstop on Wednesday, and then took Thursday off (it was the first off-day of his rehabilitation assignment). He’s supposed to play today.
Injury Update: Stefen Romero missed his third straight game with back tightness.
Hot Rainiers: Jesus Montero hit safely in all eight games on the road trip, including a 3-for-5 performance yesterday. Shawn O’Malley and James Jones carry five-game streaks into tonight’s home opener.
Look Out For: Veteran corner infielder Brett Wallace has a seven-game hitting streak and is batting .500 (12-for-24) on the season. Catcher Austin Hedges is also on a roll, going 8-for-15 with 8 RBI in his last four games.
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 7:15 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here. Pacific Northwest sportscasting legend Bob Robertson will join me on the air tonight, and for all Sunday home games this season.
PCL Scoreboard: follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
- Here’s the Rainiers game story covering Thursday’s win.
- In advance of today’s home opener, The News Tribune has an article on new Rainiers manager Pat Listach.
- The Mariners start a nine-game homestand tonight, and they are not panicking yet.
- John McGrath would like to see the Mariners play their second good game of the season.
- In Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook, Lloyd McClendon explains why you can’t call pitches from the bench in the majors.
- The Seattle Times caught up with former Rainiers and Mariners outfielder Charlton Jimerson, who recently published a book about the hurdles he overcame in life to reach the major leagues.
- You will see the pitch clocks tonight – and they are working. Baseball America reports that after eight games in the PCL, games are an average of 11 minutes shorter than they were at this point last season. So far, I think the new batter’s box rule and the between-inning changeover clocks are the changes that are speeding things up.
- Baseball America’s first Prospect Hot Sheet of the season is out today, and Mariners prospect Edwin Diaz is on the list.
- The Chihuahuas put a licking on the Reno Aces last night, 10-4. El Paso split that series.
- Las Vegas hit a couple of big homers in a 7-4 win at Sacramento.
- Fresno completed a four-game sweep of Salt Lake with a 5-4 win last night. Now an Astros affiliate, the Grizzlies are playing “data-driven baseball.”
- Kris Bryant was robbed of a dinger by former Rainiers outfielder Cole Gillespie, later hit a 3-run homer in Iowa’s 10-7 win at New Orleans, then was called up to the big leagues. The Iowa Cubs are happy for him, even though it came on the eve of their home opener.
- Zach Lee tossed a gem and Oklahoma City edged Nashville last night, 3-2.
- Omaha wrapped up its road trip with a 9-4 win at Memphis, as Brett Eibner homered twice and drove in six. For Omaha’s home opener tonight, the local paper previewed the Storm Chasers roster.
- A local Colorado Spring columnist is excited about the possibility of the Sky Sox winning games now that they are no longer affiliated with the Rockies. The Sky Sox are considering some major stadium renovations.
- Nashville opens its brand new ballpark today.
The weather is perfect today for a Home Opener. Let’s all have a great time at the park tonight!