Romero Ends Pitcher’s Duel In 11th

Tacoma made it two straight victories in Salt Lake City with a 4-1, 11-inning win on Saturday night.

Stefen Romero cranked a three-run homer on a full count with two outs in the top of the 11th inning, snapping a 1-1 tie. It was the third home run of the past two days for Romero, and his 14th of the year.

Tacoma’s Zach Lee had his best start since joining the team, delivering seven strong innings of two-hit ball. But Tacoma couldn’t get anything going against Salt Lake starter Chris Jones, and Lee left the game with the score tied 1-1.

There was a key moment in the bottom of the ninth inning: with the score 1-1, Salt Lake loaded the bases with one out. Tacoma brought Donn Roach in from the bullpen to face Ryan Jackson, and Roach fell behind in the count 3-1.

Forced to throw a strike or else lose the game, Roach got Jackson to ground into an inning-ending double play. Third baseman Zach Shank fielded the grounder and started the double play through second base, even though the winning runner was headed home. It proved to be the right decision, as second baseman Daniel Robertson‘s relay to first base beat Jackson by a couple of steps.

That play preserved the tie, sent the game into extra innings, and set the stage for Romero’s game-winning homer.

It was a good day in the standings, too, as both second-place Reno and third-place Fresno lost in one-run games. Tacoma has a 3.5 game lead now.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Stefen Romero snapped a 1-1 tie with a three-run homer in the top of the 11th inning, and Tacoma beat Salt Lake 4-1. Zach Lee had his best start since joining the Rainiers, going seven innings and allowing one run on just two hits.

Today: Tacoma (57-42-1) at Salt Lake (47-51), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 11-3.

The Rainiers went 7-1 against Salt Lake at home, and are 4-2 so far in Salt Lake City.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-0, 4.50) at RHP Javy Guerra (3-1, 4.41).

This is only Gaviglio’s second Triple-A start of the year – at Double-A Jackson, he went 5-5, 4.15 in 18 games. It’s a bullpen day for Salt Lake.

Hot RainiersRob Brantly is 11-for-27 with two home runs in his last eight games… Guillermo Heredia left yesterday’s game with a “jammed shoulder” suffered while diving into a base and he’ll probably get a day off today; he has hit safely in 21 of 25 games since joining the Rainiers… Zach Shank has had two straight three-hit games.

Look Out For: Sherman Johnson homered last night, and he has reached base in 23 of his last 24 games… Kaleb Cowart has a seven-game hitting streak… speedster Quintin Berry has been successful in his last 15 stolen base attempts.

Ex-Rainiers: Salt Lake has former Rainiers reliever Lucas Luetge, and former Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 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:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • My Sunday minor league notebook for the paper leads with new acquisition Dan Vogelbach, and has a bit about how the Rainiers schedule will affect the division race.
  • Nelson Cruz homered twice and the Mariners blasted Toronto on Saturday, 14-5.
  • In his Mariners Notebook, Bob Dutton suggest the team might adjust the roster prior to National League games in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. officially entered the Hall of Fame today. We’ll have a link to his entire speech tomorrow, but for now check out John McGrath’s story on the Griffey display in Cooperstown. Or marc w’s Griffey post from USS Mariner.
  • On a recent trip to Seattle the White Sox refused to pay visiting clubhouse manager Jeff Bopp, who is a former Rainiers clubbie and friend of the blog.
  • Meg Rowley of Baseball Prospectus looks at manager Scott Servais‘s first season so far.

PCL Game Reports:

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