Rainiers Win In Lucky 12th

The Rainiers won their seventh straight game on Monday night, beating Oklahoma City with two runs in the bottom of the 12th inning, 5-4. The way the runs scored was… unusual.

First off, the Dodgers scored in the top of the 12th to take a 4-3 lead – and they had runners at first and third with nobody out. They were threatening to score multiple runs, but after allowing three straight hits to open the inning reliever Guido Knudson worked out of the jam with no additional runs scoring.

In the bottom of the 12th, the baseball gods smiled upon Tacoma.

With one out, Nori Aoki reached on an infield single, and Guillermo Heredia singled to right-center – Aoki stopped at second base after rolling his ankle on the bag while taking the turn; he’s OK and is available for tonight’s game.

That’s when things got weird.

Rob Brantly worked a 2-2 count, and then we had a pitch clock violation. Oklahoma City reliever Layne Somsen was called for taking too long between pitches (over 20 seconds) and ball three was awarded to Brantly. This would be key, as Brantly drew a rare walk to load the bases.

It was the second pitch clock violation we have seen called this season, and both have been called in key situations with the game on the line – and both by the same umpire, Alex Ortiz. The first one came July 8th at Sacramento, a strike to Aoki for being slow getting into the batters box representing the tying run in with two outs in the ninth.

A brief rant:

I love the pitch clock like a son. It has worked incredibly well, shaving 15 minutes off the average time of Triple-A games and bringing a good pace back to PCL play. I wouldn’t trade the pitch clock for Mike Trout – you can keep your superstar outfielder, I’ll keep my clock and my fast-paced, entertaining baseball games.

That being said, pitch clock violations should not be called in tense situations with the game on the line. Call them in the first six or seven innings, to maintain and enforce a good pace, but let’s not make ticky-tack calls in the ninth (or 12th) with the game on the line.

This doesn’t require a rule book change. All it requires is common sense from the umpires to let it slide when the game is at a key moment.

End of rant. Sorry about that.

The bases were loaded with one out, Tacoma down by a run, and all-star Stefen Romero was at the plate. This was a great situation, right?

Well, Romero hit a double-play grounder to shortstop which should have ended the game – except shortstop Charlie Culberson didn’t glove the ball cleanly and was unable to get anybody out, and Aoki scored the tying run.

That brought up D.J. Peterson with the bases loaded, and he worked a full count before squibbing a ground ball between first and second. Second baseman Micah Johnson ranged into the hole but couldn’t field it cleanly (and would not have been able to throw anyone out if he had), and Heredia scampered home with the winning run.

It was a two-run rally with one hard-hit ball, Heredia’s single. There were two infield singles, a pitch clock violation walk, and an error.

In the 12th inning, Oklahoma City hit four balls hard and scored one run, while the Rainiers hit one ball hard and managed to score two runs.

That’s baseball, eh?

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma won in the 12th inning, 5-4, to extend the winning streak to seven games – a season-best. The Rainiers remained 4.5-games ahead of both Fresno and Reno.

Today: Oklahoma City (53-41) at Tacoma (54-40-1), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Dodgers.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Brock Stewart Logan Bawcom (3-3, 2.36) at RHP Jordan Pries (2-1, 3.86).

EDIT: there was a late change, the ex-Rainier is going today, and Stewart will start on Thursday.

A 2014 draftee, Stewart opened the season at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and dominated in two starts, went to Double-A Tulsa and dominated in nine starts, and now he’s with Oklahoma City. In 30.2 innings he has 41 strikeouts and three walks.

Hot Rainiers: Guillermo Heredia has hit safely in eight straight games, and 17 of 20 games since joining the Rainiers… D.J. Peterson has a six-game hitting streak, going 11-for-26 with two homers… Nori Aoki is 7-for-10 in his last two games.

Look Out For: Austin Barnes is a catcher/infielder who has gone back-and-forth between Oklahoma City and LA this year; he brings a six-game hitting streak into tonight’s game… Joc Pederson had his rehabilitation assignment end and he is not here (thank goodness)… top prospect Julio Urias has been temporarily shifted to a bullpen role as the Dodgers monitor his innings count; no telling when he might pitch in this series.

Ex-Rainiers: Welcome back, Logan Bawcom. Bawcom pitched three seasons for Tacoma, 2013-2015, and was a big part of the Rainiers community outreach by participating in many volunteer events. He’s having a good year: 3-3, 2.36 in 42 innings for OKC.

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.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

  • Fresno had a bullpen day and allowed ten hits and seven walks – and won, 8-1. Round Rock managed to leave 15 runners on base, which is something.
  • Kyle Jensen went bonkers, ripping two homers and driving in seven runs as Reno walloped Colorado Springs, 10-1.
  • Sacramento at New Orleans got rained out and they are trying for two tonight.
  • Salt Lake piled up a dozen runs in a 12-7 win at Iowa, but the I-Cubs are getting some big name rehabbers today.
  • Hector Sanchez hit two homers to help El Paso discolor the Redbirds, 11-5.
  • Omaha’s Christian Binford had a strong start in a 2-1 win over Las Vegas.
  • Nashville at Albuquerque got rained out – here’s a picture of the tarp. They’ll play two today.

Eight? Can we make it eight?

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