On Display Friday: Good, Clean Baseball

The Rainiers played a beautiful game on Friday night, picking up a 2-0 victory over Fresno.

The pitching was excellent on both sides, strikes were being thrown with consistency, Tacoma played solid defense (Fresno not so much), and the Rainiers cashed in on their scoring opportunity in the sixth inning.

Ketel Marte led off the sixth with a double, and Stefen Romero hit behind the runner to move him up with a groundout. With the infield in, Jesus Montero singled sharply up the middle to score Marte and make it 1-0.

Montero went from first-to-third on Pat Kivlehan‘s single to right, and then with two outs it happened: Montero stole home.

OK, it was a delayed double steal. Kivlehan went first, taking off for second base. When catcher Max Stassi threw to second, Montero took off towards home – and scored with ease when the relay to the plate skipped past Stassi. Montero was credited with a stolen base.

That was all the offense the Rainiers needed, as the pitching was terrific last night. Tacoma has won two in a row and will try to build on that tonight.

Throwback Weekend

Today the Rainiers are throwing it back to the 1979 Tacoma Tugs.

The Tugs marked the first time the Tacoma franchise name was not the same as the major league affiliate. The Tugs were a Cleveland Indians affiliate, and Tacoma didn’t want to use the same name as the Spokane’s minor league team.

After one year of the Tugs, the team switched its name to Tigers which was the historic name for Tacoma pro teams going back to the early 1900s. That lasted until 1995.

I think the Tugs had a pretty cool logo – especially for 1979:

Rob Ellis of the 1979 Tacoma Tugs

Rob Ellis of the 1979 Tacoma Tugs

The first 1,000 fans in the gates today get a free hat with the Tugs other logo, which had a tugboat on it – click here to see the hat.

The Tugs went 74-73 under manager Gene Dusan. They didn’t have much power: they hit just 61 home runs in 147 games, yikes!

What they did have was Tacoma’s single-season strikeout king, Juan Berenguer. He punched out 220 batters in 166 innings (and walked 129 – he must have thrown a billion pitches) while going 8-8, 4.88 in 26 starts.

Berenguer wasn’t even a Cleveland Indians player – he was on loan from the New York Mets organization. He ended up having a long major league career.

Fun fact: Juan Berenguer shared a rookie card with longtime Tacoma Rainiers pitching coach Dwight Bernard.

Nice hair, Dwight.

Nice hair, Dwight.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Justin Germano, Forrest Snow, and Lucas Luetge combined on a two-hit shutout as the Rainiers beat Fresno, 2-0. Offensively the Rainiers relied on the Jesus Montero speed game.

Today: Fresno (11-10) at Tacoma (9-13) 5:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Fresno is the Houston Astros affiliate.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 2-0

Starting Pitchers: RHP Brady Rodgers (1-1, 8.22) at RHP Sam Gaviglio (1-2, 4.71).

Roster Moves: Pitcher Joe Saunders exercised an opt-out in his contract and became a free agent. The major league veteran saw that it was going to be tough to crack the Mariners bullpen, so he decided to explore other options – a pretty logical move, from his standpoint.

Hot Rainiers: Infielder Ketel Marte has a seven game hitting streak, while his double play buddy Chris Taylor has multiple hits in seven of his last 11 games.

Look Out For: Fresno outfielder Preston Tucker leads the PCL in home runs (9) and RBI (29). He’s homered in four of the last seven Fresno games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 (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:

  • Some good details in the Rainiers game story with reaction from Jesus Montero, Justin Germano, and Pat Listach.
  • You know you want it: video of Montero stealing home.
  • The Sporting News ran a fun snapshot of Bob Robertson, who has called minor league baseball since 1949. He’ll be joining me on the air Sunday (we won’t be having him throw batting practice before the game; it’s 2015 for crying out loud).
  • Danny Hultzen had a successful return to action for Double-A Jackson last night, pitching 3.1 innings without allowing an earned run or a walk. He was pulled after 56 pitches (look for the Mariners to slowly build that up). D.J.Peterson helped him with some offense – here’s the game story from MiLB.com.
  • On top of that, the Mariners Clinton affiliate pitched a combined no-hitter last night at Cedar Rapids (Twins). Starter Daniel Missaki went the first seven innings; he’s only 19-years-old.
  • The Mariners came up one run short in a 4-3 loss to Houston on Friday night. The Mariners are hoping to get some production out of Dustin Ackley.
  • Tidbits! Get your tidbits here! It’s Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook.
  • In the PCL, Salt Lake scored five in the 12th inning to beat Albuquerque, 10-5. Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort made his first visit to his new Triple-A affiliate.
  • Las Vegas edged Reno, 4-3, and the 51s have won eight straight games.
  • In a pace-of-play stats killer, El Paso beat Sacramento 7-6 in 13 innings – and 4 hours, 54 minutes. Guys, we have pitch clocks. We don’t do that anymore.
  • Iowa lost to Oklahoma City with rehabbing Dallas Beeler on the mound. OKC shortstop Corey Seager went 2-for-5 with an RBI single in his Triple-A debut.
  • The Round Rock Express keep hitting home runs and winning baseball games. They hit two more dingers in a 7-2 win over Nashville, and have won seven of the last eight games.
  • Omaha got Colorado sprung in a 16-4 loss to the Sky Sox last night. Colorado Springs had 21 hits, and infielder Luis Sardinas tied a franchise record with four stolen bases.

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