Rainiers Top ‘Topes With Pitching, Defense

We had a spectacular finish to Tacoma’s 3-2 win over Albuquerque on Friday night.

Nursing a one-run lead in the ninth, reliever Mayckol Guaipe allowed a leadoff triple to Albuquerque’s Ben Paulsen. Obviously this was big trouble.

With the infield drawn in, Guaipe struck out Ryan Casteel for the first out.

Next up, the dangerous Tim Wheeler pulled a hard chopper to the right side. First baseman Jesus Skinny Montero – now featuring cat-like reflexes –  made a lunging backhand stab of the ball, froze the runner at third, and then raced to first and slid in to beat Wheeler to the bag. His feet-first slide allowed him to pop back up onto his feet and make sure Paulsen hadn’t budged from third.

Guaipe then retired the next hitter on a flyout to end the game.

Montero’s defensive play serves as a snapshot of how his physical transformation has changed him as a player. There was no way he could have made this play last year. No chance.

There is more on Montero in the game story below.

Tacoma has had great starting pitching for two days in a row, with Mike Montgomery and Jordan Pries turning in consecutive terrific starts. Both days the bullpen has followed with shutout relief.

Friday’s win earned a series split with Albuquerque. Tacoma has won back-to-back games for the second time this season, and looks to make it three straight for the first time tonight.

The Rainiers open a four-game series in Sacramento tonight. Then the team returns home to host Fresno starting on Thursday and lasting through the weekend.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma pitchers Jordan Pries and Mayckol Guaipe shut down Albuquerque, with Guaipe nailing down a tough save. Jesus Montero drove in a pair of runs and made a game-saving web gem at first base in the ninth inning.

Today: Tacoma (6-10) at Sacramento (8-8) 7:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Sacramento is the San Francisco Giants affiliate.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Forrest Snow (0-1, 5.40) at LHP Braulio Lara (0-2, 8.78)

Snow is filling in for scheduled starter Roenis Elias, who is “not available” for reasons which should be clear tomorrow.

Roster Move: yesterday the Mariners placed Hisashi Iwakuma on the disabled list and recalled reliever Lucas Luetge from Tacoma. Tacoma now has an open roster spot which could be filled before today’s game.

Hot Rainiers: Jesus Montero had two more hits and two RBIs last night. He has hit safely in 14 of 15 games this season.

Look Out For: Sacramento’s Adam Duvall has been one of the top hitters in the league so far, batting .424 with four homers and 16 RBI. He hit for the cycle on Sunday in Salt Lake City.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story has quotes from Jordan Pries and Jesus Montero.
  • Felix Hernandez pitched a shutout and the Mariners beat the Twins on Friday night, 2-0. Seattle has won four of the last six games and is now 7-9 on the season.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook has the low-down on the Hisashi Iwakuma situation and a note on a record Felix is closing in on.
  • Ex-Rainiers outfielder Michael Saunders is about to be activated by the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • In the PCL, the El Paso Chihuahuas broke out their brooms and swept away the Sacramento River Cats with a 6-1 victory on Friday. Jason Lane tossed a gem.
  • Las Vegas starter Steven Matz had a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the seventh inning of a 12-0 defrocking of Reno.
  • Fresno at Salt Lake was suspended due to rain in the tenth inning with the score tied 3-3. The teams don’t see each other again until June, so this game is going to be in limbo for a long time.
  • Jerad Eickhoff had a Triple-A debut to remember: the newest pitcher on the Round Rock Express had a no-hit bid spoiled with one out in the ninth inning against Colorado Springs. He had to settle for an 11-strikeout, 7-2 victory.
  • Triple-A rookie Max Muncy had a big game at the plate and Nashville put away Oklahoma City early. The A’s called up Muncy today.
  • Memphis closer Sam Tuivailala survived a wild ninth to slam the door on an 8-7 win at Omaha.
  • Iowa turned four double plays in a 2-1 win over New Orleans, but may have lost pitcher Barret Loux in the process.

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