The series opener in Sacramento ended under unusual circumstances last night, and it was not a satisfying finish.
Tacoma trailed 2-1 in the top of the ninth, and had runners at first and second with two outs.
Jean Machi was on the mound for Sacramento, trying to close it out. Tyler Smith was at the plate for Tacoma, and he already had two hits in the game and was looking for a third to at least tie the game up.
Smith had a good at-bat, and eventually worked a full count.
Then on the 3-2 pitch, something strange happened: Machi threw a high fastball, Smith took the pitch and started to head to first base… and home plate umpire Travis Eggert called it strike three, game over.
Smith argued the call while Sacramento players shook hands behind the mound, but there was really no point. Eggert had made his call and it was over.
What a time for an ump to miss a pitch.
It happens every game, even in the majors, the umpire misses some ball/strike calls. The so-called human element. But the timing on this one…
It was clearly ball four. The entire press box (mostly Sacramento employees) was stunned by the call. There was a delay before the River Cats players came out of the dugout – they thought the game was still going.
Had the call been correct, Nori Aoki would have been up with the bases loaded and two outs. We’ll never know if he would have been the hero for the Rainiers.
Yesterday: Sacramento’s Ty Blach carried a shutout into the ninth inning as Sacramento was the series opener, 2-1.
Roster Moves: Prior to yesterday’s game, reliever Steve Johnson was placed on the disabled list with tricep soreness. Tacoma now has three reliable relievers on the disabled list: Mayckol Guaipe, Jonathan Aro, and Johnson.
Today: Tacoma (47-39-1) at Sacramento (37-51), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.
Season Series: Sacramento leads, 5-4.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Joe Wieland (6-4, 6.45) at RHP Matt Cain (-).
This is a rehab start for Cain, who last faced Tacoma on August 23, 2005 at Cheney Stadium. He was nasty back then!
Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a nine-game hitting streak, and he has gone 22-for-56 over his last 13 games… D.J. Peterson has hit safely in seven of his first eight games with Tacoma… Tyler Smith has gone 14-for-38 over his last 11 games.
Look Out For: Gorkys Hernandez has been Sacramento’s best position player. He’s reached base in 11 straight games and is coming off a huge June in which he batted .366 with a .440 OBP… infielder Rando Moreno is 16-for-45 over his last 13 games; he’s one of six position players who have been promoted from Double-A Richmond within the last month.
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 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.
- In the Rainiers game story, fill-in manager Andy McKay kind of shrugged off the final pitch call. He noted that if the Rainiers had gotten a bunt down earlier in the inning, the game would have been tied anyway. I think Listach would have felt the same way.
- D.J. Peterson makes an appearance on Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet.
- The Mariners let one get away in the ninth inning to Kansas City last night, 4-3. Former Rainiers James Paxton and Daniel Robertson had terrific games.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook leads with Robinson Cano appearing in the Home Run Derby.
- John McGrath writes that the Home Run Derby needs to be improved.
PCL Game Reports:
- The Fresno Grizzlies won the opening game (did they ever!) of the Showdown for Second Place against Reno, 14-0. Fresno and Reno are now tied in second, 2.5 games behind Tacoma.
- Tyler Skaggs had a strong rehab start and Salt Lake beat El Paso, 9-7. Skaggs allowed one run in five innings.
- Las Vegas pounded Albuquerque, 13-6. Roger Bernadina had four hits and Michael Conforto homered.
- Omaha ended Oklahoma City’s seven-game winning streak with a 13-7 victory on Thursday. Irving Falu homered and drove in four runs.
- Memphis first baseman David Washington had three hits with a homer to help the Redbirds toss Round Rock, 13-7.
- Nashville’s offensive struggles continued with a 1-0 loss to New Orleans. Four Zephyrs pitchers combined on a five-hitter.
- Colorado Springs put eleven runs on the board in a home win against Iowa. Nate Orf went 3-for-3 with four RBIs, but he still hasn’t dropped his first name yet. He should shorten his name to one word like a Brazilian soccer player: Orf.