The Rainiers walked off El Paso in a new fashion on Friday night, claiming a 2-1 win.
The finish of the game was so unusual that Rainiers manager Pat Listach – a baseball lifer – said he has never seen a game end in this way.
It was tied 1-1 going to the bottom of the ninth, and it had been a long, cold, wet night. An hour-long rain delay in the third inning extended the proceedings, and it was after 11:00 pm when the Rainiers drew three walks to load the bases with two outs.
Tyler O’Neill was the batter, and he quickly fell behind in the count 0-2. We were a strike away from going to extra innings.
Then O’Neill swung and hit a high pop-up in front of home plate. We were definitely going to extra innings.
Except… El Paso catcher Rocky Gale moved out in front of the plate looking for the pop-up, and he started to stagger. He did not look confident that he was going to catch it.
The third baseman Cory Spangenberg is supposed to take over in this situation, but he was playing pretty deep with O’Neill up and he had a long run in.
Ultimately the pitcher Keith Hessler was the one who tried to catch it – which is not the pitcher’s job on a pop-up. Pitchers are instructed to not catch pop-ups; let the infielders handle them.
Hessler didn’t catch it. The ball plopped to the ground right next to his extended glove, Tuffy Gosewisch had already crossed home plate, and the Rainiers had themselves an unexpected 2-1 victory.
We’ll take that one. Tacoma won the series against the Chihuahuas, three games to one.
Now the Albuquerque Isotopes come to town for a three-game series.
Yesterday: Tacoma got away with one last night, beating El Paso 2-1 on a bases loaded, two outs, bottom of the ninth inning dropped pop fly. The Rainiers had terrific bullpen work, as five relievers combined to pitch six innings of two-hit, shutout relief.
Roster Moves: The Mariners optioned pitcher Dillon Overton to Tacoma, and he is expected to pitch in today’s game in a relief role. Pitcher Michael Rivera was sent back to extended spring training. Left-handed reliever Paul Fry, who was designated for assignment earlier this week, was apparently claimed by multiple teams. The Mariners worked out a deal to send Fry to the Orioles in exchange for $198,000 of international signing bonus slot money.
Today: Albuquerque (6-3) at Tacoma (4-4), 5:05.
Albuquerque opened at home and won four of five against Salt Lake, then traveled to Reno and split a four-game series.
Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.
Season Series: 0-0.
Starting Pitchers: RHP German Marquez (0-0, 4.91) at RHP Ryan Weber (0-0, 0.00).
Hot Rainiers: Ben Gamel has reached base via hit or walk in six straight games, and D.J. Peterson has a five-game on-base streak… reliever Nick Hagadone has retired all seven batters he has faced, striking out six of them.
Look Out For: The Isotopes are averaging nearly six runs per game, although they have only played games at high elevation. Outfielder Noel Cuevas is off to a fast start, having already notched three 3-hit games. Catcher Ryan Hanigan has a five-game hitting streak.
Ex-Rainiers and Locals: The Isotopes don’t have any ex-Rainiers, but they are carrying former Mariners outfielder Chris Denorfia.
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 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.
- The News Tribune has an interestingly formatted Rainiers recap which does include reaction from manager Pat Listach on the final play.
- The paper checked in on Rainiers pitchers Casey Fien and Chris Heston.
- Felix Hernandez was terrific and the Mariners held off the Texas Rangers on Friday night, 2-1. We have three takeaways from the game.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook covers the latest roster moves involving the Mariners and Rainiers.
- Today is Jackie Robinson Day all around baseball. Cool detail about the new Ken Griffey Jr. statue at Safeco: the Jackie Robinson Day patch is on his shoulder.
- There was a no-hitter in the PCL last night! Three New Orleans pitchers combined to no-hit the Iowa Cubs at Principal Park in Des Moines, with the Baby Cakes winning the game 11-1. Yes, they pitched a no-hitter and allowed a run. Scott Copeland went the first seven innings. Hunter Cervenka allowed the run in the eighth inning, on two errors and two walks. Brandon Cunniff pitched the ninth and finished it off. It was the first no-hitter in the PCL since 2014.
- Round Rock avoided a sweep by picking up a 4-2 win at Omaha.
- Colorado Springs starter Brandon Woodruff pitched well in a 3-1 win at Memphis. That four-game series was a split.
- A dropped fly ball allowed Oklahoma City to score a 3-2 win at Nashville.
- Albuquerque and Reno split a doubleheader yesterday. The ‘Topes won the first game, 5-2, as Jordan Patterson drove in three runs. Reno took the second game in extra innings, 4-3, on a walk-off hit by ex-Rainiers third baseman Carlos Rivero.
- Sacramento scored four runs in the top of the ninth and won in Salt Lake City, 12-10. The game featured six lead changes.
- Las Vegas won a bullpen game against Fresno, 4-2. The 51s scheduled starter Sean Gilmartin was called up by the Mets the day he was supposed to pitch.