Rainiers Win Thriller In El Paso

The Rainiers won a thriller in ten innings at El Paso on Thursday night, 6-5, in a game the exhibited how much things can swing over the course of an evening.

For the first five innings it looked like Tacoma had no chance of winning.

El Paso jumped out to a 5-0 lead at the end of the third inning, hitting a pair of homers and knocking Tacoma’s starter out early.

Chihuahuas starting pitcher Dinelson Lamet broke the franchise record for strikeouts… in the fifth inning! He had 12 strikeouts by the end of the fifth, and was working on a one-hit shutout.

The Rainiers got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth when Gordon Beckham launched a solo homer to left field, making it 5-1. But in reality things really started to swing Tacoma’s way much earlier.

In the third inning El Paso scored two runs and had runners at first and third with one out. It was 5-0, and they were about to blow the game wide open.

Tacoma brought in Ryan Weber from the bullpen, and he got Diego Goris to ground into an inning-ending double play.

That was the start of an incredible stretch for Weber. He retired the side on four pitches in the fourth inning: a ball, a ground out, a ground out, and another ground out. He went on to pitch 5.2 scoreless innings, getting 14 of the 17 outs on infield grounders.

Weber has now tossed 13.2 shutout innings this season. His long relief work keyed Tacoma’s comeback last night.

Shortly after Beckham’s homer in the top of the sixth, Lamet reached 95 pitches and was pulled from the game. He finished with 13 strikeouts in 5.1 innings, which should remain the El Paso record for a while. The Chihuahuas went to the bullpen and Tacoma kept striking out – the Rainiers whiffed 18 times in the game – but a comeback was made.

In the seventh inning Tuffy Gosewish hit a one-out double, and Zach Shank Walked. Beckham followed with a fly ball to shallow center, and El Paso outfielder Franchy Cordero initially went back on the ball – costing him the chance to make a catch. It dropped for a single, and the bases were loaded for Dan Vogelbach.

Vogelbach ripped Carlos Fisher‘s first pitch on a low line to right field. This laser beam was timed at 107 mph coming off the bat, and it banged into the brick structure above the right field fence for a game-tying grand slam.

The Rainiers threatened in both the eighth and ninth innings, but did not score. Jean Machi relieved Weber in the bottom of the ninth, pitched a scoreless inning, and we were going to extras for the first time this season.

Boog Powell opened the tenth by pulling a hard double down the right field line against El Paso reliever Michael Dimock, bringing up Gosewisch. Gosewisch fouled off two bunt attempts, falling behind in the count, and then lifted a fly ball that carried to deep right field. El Paso’s Rafael Ortega tried to catch it at the wall, but it dropped to the ground and Powell scored the go-ahead run on a close play at the plate.

Machi and Dean Kiekhefer took care of the bottom of the tenth inning, and the Rainiers had their first extra-innings victory of the season.

It was an incredible turnaround. The game felt like a loss and it turned into a win.

After tonight’s game the Rainiers get to enjoy a rare Pacific Coast League bus trip, a three-and-a-half hour midnight ride through the desert to Albuquerque. The most exciting sight we’ll see on the drive, in all likelihood, will be the bright lights of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

A four game series against the Albuquerque Isotopes starts on Saturday night.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers beat El Paso in ten innings, 6-5, in the team’s best win of the season. Tacoma needs a win today to get a split of the four-game series.

Today: Tacoma (8-6) at El Paso (7-8), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chase De Jong (2-0, 1.74) at RHP Bryan Rodriguez (1-0, 0.75).

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has hit safely in six straight games, he’s homered in the last two, and he has reached base via hit or walk in 13 straight games… Ben Gamel has reached in 12 straight games… Gordon Beckham was a four-game hitting streak, during which he has hit three home runs.

Look Out For: Cory Spangenberg is on a tear. He has a seven-game hitting streak, going 13-for-28 during it, and is 6-for-13 during this series… Jamie Romak, Jose Pirela, and Diego Goris have five-game hitting streaks.

Ex-Rainiers and Locals: Former Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom is now a Chihuahua. He signed with the Padres as a free agent during the offseason… ex-Rainiers outfielder Jabari Blash was optioned to El Paso on Saturday; let’s try to keep him in the ballpark… El Paso pitching coach Bronswell Patrick pitched for the Tacoma Tigers for two years, 1993-1994.

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:

  • The game story from the El Paso Times focuses on the impressive outing by Dinelson Lamet. There is another photo gallery with the story.
  • Limet appears on Baseball America’s weekly Prospect Hot Sheet, which includes a note on Mariners Double-A base stealing machine Ian Miller.
  • The Mariners lost in Oakland, 9-6, as James Paxton allowed runs for the first time this season. Three takeaways from the game.
  • The Mariners Notebook leads off with Mitch Haniger‘s impressive play.
  • A wonderful tribute to former Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus was posted on SI today. It’s written by Ken Levine, one of his former broadcast partners.

PCL Reports:

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