Rainiers Out-Slug Cubs, 8-7

The Rainiers won a wind-blown homer festival on Sunday in Des Moines, 8-7.

Beyond the right field fence at Iowa’s Principal Park is an aluminum bleacher section and scoreboard meant to mimic the bleachers at Wrigley Field. It is a nice copy, and the image was embellished on Sunday by a strong wind blowing out to right field for the first seven innings of the game.

Each team hit three homers in the game, and by my count half of them fell firmly into the category of Wind Aided.

Mike Zunino hit two homers, including the go-ahead two-run shot in the seventh, and neither of his took advantage of the wind. He hit both of his to left-center, through the cross-wind.

The second go-around for emergency spot-starter Nathan Bannister was nothing like his first outing when he tossed 6.2 shutout innings, but he was a victim of poor luck and circumstance. He gave up three homers – two Wind Aided – as well as a wind-blown double along with some unfortunate soft ground ball hits which found holes. Six runs scored during his four innings on the mound.

Bannister left the game trailing 6-3, but Tacoma’s bullpen was outstanding. Five relievers covered the remaining five innings, allowing one run, and the Rainiers came back to win.

Tacoma is 4-3 so far on this eight-game road trip which ends today. Big opportunity to post a winning road trip today.


Yesterday: The wind was blowing out and Tacoma won a Sunday Slugfest in Des Moines, 8-7. Each team hit three home runs – Tacoma had two from catcher Mike Zunino, including the go-ahead two-run shot in the seventh inning. Five Rainiers relievers combined to hold Iowa to one run over the final five innings.

Roster Moves: First baseman Dan Vogelbach and pitcher Chris Heston were called up by Seattle yesterday, with infielder Mike Freeman and pitcher Dillon Overton optioned to Tacoma (Freeman and Overton report on Tuesday). The Rainiers are expected to add new-to-the organization veteran reliever Ryan Kelly today, and reliever Kody Kerski is driving over from Low-A Clinton to serve as emergency help today. Expect the Rainiers roster to become much more stable in a Triple-A fashion after a flurry of moves when the team gets home on Tuesday.

Today: Tacoma (27-15) at Iowa (19-23), 10:05 AM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Chicago Cubs.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chase De Jong (2-0, 1.74) at RHP Casey Kelly (1-0, 3.60).

Hot Rainiers: Leonys Martin has an eight-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 13-for-29 with two homers… Mike Zunino has a four-game hitting streak, with three homers, but he won’t be playing for Tacoma today… reliever Ryne Harper hasn’t allowed a run over his last six appearances, covering 7.2 innings pitched… Mark Lowe has gone five appearances without allowing a run, spanning 5.1 IP.

Look Out For: Veteran third baseman Chris Dominguez has hit safely in ten of his last 11 games… Jeimer Candelario has homered in back-to-back games.

Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: After an offseason of being claimed off waivers repeatedly, ex-Tacoma lefty reliever David Rollins landed in Iowa.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 9:50 AM 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.


PCL Reports:

  • Omaha’s Bubba Starling extended his hitting streak to 12 straight games in a doubleheader split with Reno. This outcome gave Tacoma a one-game lead over Reno in the Pacific-North division standings.
  • Infielder Reid Brignac went 4-for-4 to help Fresno beat Memphis, 9-3. The winning pitcher was Casey Coleman, who was an ace reliever for the Rainiers last year and is now a starter for Fresno. The Grizzlies visit Tacoma tomorrow.
  • Jharel Cotton tossed seven shutout innings and Matt Olson went 4-for-4 with a homer as Nashville won in Sacramento, 4-0.
  • Big innings are killing the Baby Cakes, New Orleans manager Arnie Beyeler said after losing to Las Vegas on Sunday, 7-3.
  • Round Rock starter Allen Webster dealt seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 win over visiting Salt Lake.
  • The Albuquerque Isotopes had Beach Day and wore “beach attire” uniforms on Sunday, but they lost to Colorado Springs on Rene Garcia‘s go-ahead RBI in the ninth inning, 3-2. Check the pun-filled story for photos. They remind me of those awful outfits UCLA basketball was decked out in a couple of years ago.
  • Oklahoma City’s Jack Murphy singled home the winning run in the top of the tenth inning for a 5-4 win at El Paso.

After today’s day game the Rainiers hop on an airplane and fly home. We’ve got a four-game homestand against Fresno starting on Tuesday at 6:05.


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