Tacoma split the doubleheader last night, dropping the first game to Round Rock 5-0 but winning the second, 8-1.
Those who stuck around for game two got to see a rare event at Cheney Stadium. Dario Pizzano circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run in the second inning – the first inside-the-parker hit by a Rainiers player since April of 2008, when Wladimir Balentien did it.
The dimensions of Cheney Stadium make inside-the-park home runs unlikely. With the short distance to the foul poles (325 feet), and the straight outfield fence and relatively narrow outfield gaps, the only real chance for an ITP-HR is to hit the ball to deep center.
That’s what Pizzano did. He drove a rocket to the right of the giant center field wall, towards the flag pole. Round Rock centerfielder Jared Hoyer went after it hard, and attempted a leaping catch while crashing into the padded fence. The ball hit the top of the fence and maybe part of Hoyer’s glove before bouncing back toward the now vacant center field area.
By the time anyone tracked down the ball and threw it in to the cutoff man, Pizzano was already rounding third. There was a throw home, but Pizzano scored standing up.
Today is the last day of the homestand. The Rainiers head to the midwest for eight games in seven days starting on Tuesday in Omaha. The team is travelling on an offday Monday, and the trip includes a scheduled day/night split doubleheader in Omaha on Wednesday.
This is an interesting part of the schedule: after today, the Rainiers play 16 of the next 20 games on the road. Right now Tacoma is 15-4 at home and 7-8 on the road.
Yesterday: The teams split a make-up doubleheader, recovering the game which was rained out on Friday. Three Round Rock pitchers combined to toss a three-hit shutout in the first game, which the Express won 5-0. Tacoma took game two, 8-1, as Boog Powell reached base four times and scored four runs. Dan Vogelbach homered and drove in four runs in the nightcap.
Roster Moves: The Mariners placed pitcher Ryan Weber on the disabled list, and called up reliever Dan Altavilla. Tacoma is set to add reliever Art Warren from Class-A Modesto today.
Today: Round Rock (15-21) at Tacoma (22-12), 1:35.
Opponent Affiliation: Round Rock.
Season Series: Tacoma leads, 2-1.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Anthony Bass (0-0, 1.35) at RHP Andrew Moore (1-0, 4.76).
Hot Rainiers: Boog Powell has reached base in six straight plate appearances, and he is 8-for-15 during a five-game hitting streak… Dario Pizzano is 7-for-18 with three doubles and two homers during a five-game hitting streak, and he’s 10-for-30 over his last nine games… Seth Mejias-Brean has hit safely in eight of his first nine games for Tacoma, with four multiple-hit games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base in 24 straight PCL games.
Look Out For: 21-year-old first baseman Ronald Guzman is considered the top prospect on the club; he’s hit safely in eight of his last ten games… PCL slugger Jared Hoying is a notorious streak hitter; he homered five times during an eight-game stretch at the end of April but has not gone deep since 4/30… Brett Nicholas is 4-for-8 with five RBI over the first three games of this series.
Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: Travis Snider was a first round draft pick in 2006 out of Jackson high School in Mill Creek… Josh Wilson played for Tacoma briefly in both 2009 and 2010… the Express coaching staff includes former Mariners third baseman Jim Presley as hitting coach, and ex-Mariners lefty Greg Hibbard as pitching coach.
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 1:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here. It’s a Sunday home game, so Bob Robertson joins me in the booth.
PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
- There is no Rainiers game story in the local paper, which has quit covering the team for reasons which aren’t clear.
- The Mariners lost another game and another pitcher to the disabled list yesterday in Toronto. Three takeaways from the game.
- Ryan Weber has landed on the disabled list, and once again the Mariners recalled Dan Altavilla.
- Despite the Mariners litany of starting pitcher injuries, John McGrath writes that the Taijuan Walker trade was a good one.
- Ryan Divish picks five major league players who are off to surprisingly good starts.
PCL Game Reports:
- The New Orleans Baby Cakes spit up a six-run lead in the bottom of the ninth and lost in the 12th at Reno, 11-10. Cakes pitchers walked five in the bottom of the ninth, and wild-pitched in the winning run in the 12th. Reno’s Christian Walker hit for the cycle.
- Salt Lake’s Nolan Fontana one-upped Dario Pizzano by hitting a walk-off inside-the-park home run to beat Iowa last night, 5-4. Two outfielders collided chasing his fly ball to left-center. The paper has a feature on Bees pitcher Manny Banuelos.
- Omaha’s Jake Junis tossed a gem, and the Las Vegas bullpen struggled in a 7-3 Storm Chasers win at Cashman Field.
- Austin Slater went 4-for-4 with four RBI as Sacramento hammered Colorado Springs, 11-2.
- Nashville’s Matt Olson homered twice in a 7-3 win over visiting Albuquerque.
- Memphis starter Luke Weaver surrendered just one run over seven innings as the Redbirds beat El Paso, 10-1.
- Fresno held Oklahoma City to four hits in a 6-4 win. Grizzlies outfielder Derek Fisher has a 16-game hitting streak.
We’re spending Monday flying to Omaha, and return to action on Tuesday at 4:35 (Pacific). So, no blog update on Monday, and we’ll have something new for you on Tuesday around noon.