One day after sinking to last place in the PCL in runs scored, the Tacoma Rainiers had the offensive explosion we have been waiting for.
The Rainiers banged out 21 hits, Tyler O’Neill had his biggest game of the season, and Tacoma romped its way to a 13-6 win in Reno on Friday night.
O’Neill’s night was huge: 3-for-6, with two homers, a double, and seven runs batted in.
The just-turned 22-year-old entered last night’s game batting .214 with six homers on the year. He’s been having trouble adjusting to Triple-A pitchers who are able to command their breaking pitches, and use advanced pitch sequencing to get him out.
But O’Neill was having fun on Friday.
Facing veteran major league finesse lefty Aaron Laffey for the second time this month, O’Neill pulled a towering fly-ball for a two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning. It was the second time he has homered off Laffey this season.
O’Neill hit with the bases loaded in the sixth, against Daniel Gibson – a lefty reliever. This time O’Neill did something that has been very rare for him this season: he drove a pitch to the opposite field, lining the ball high off the right field fence for a two-run double that was nearly a grand slam.
In the ninth he came up against right-handed reliever Louis Coleman, who spent the 2016 season in the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen. O’Neill got under a pitch but was still able to pull it out to left field for his second homer of the game. This one, admittedly, was something of a “Reno homer,” a fly ball that carried out in the high elevation and probably would have been caught in a lot of sea level ballparks.
The opposite-field double was the most impressive hit of the three. Hopefully this big game helps O’Neill get going for the second half of the season (which began yesterday for Tacoma).
Yesterday: Tacoma pounded a season-high 21 hits, scored seven runs in the sixth inning, and rolled to a 13-6 win in Reno on Friday night. Tyler O’Neill hit two homers and drove in seven runs, while both D.J. Peterson and Steven Baron hit four singles. The series is tied, 1-1.
Roster Moves: Prior to yesterday’s game, the Mariners activated Felix Hernandez from the disabled list and optioned Andrew Moore to Tacoma. Because the M’s have two days off this coming week (everyone in the PCL: “what?”), they don’t need a fifth starter until July 4th.
Today: Tacoma (38-34) at Reno (46-28), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.
Season Series: Reno leads, 4-2.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Christian Bergman (5-0, 2.17) at LHP Anthony Banda (6-4, 4.96).
Hot Rainiers: Andrew Aplin is 8-for-24 with seven RBI over his last nine games… Boog Powell is 8-for-13 with a homer over his last three games… Zach Shank has reached base in 11 straight games… Gordon Beckham has hit safely in four straight games.
Look Out For: Jack Reinheimer has an eight-game hitting streak, going 13-for-33 during the streak… Kristopher Negron has tripled in three straight games for Reno, going 6-for-9 with four three-baggers during the unusual streak. He gets out of the box in a hurrry.
Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: Reno has former Rainiers infielder Ketel Marte. Catcher Hank Conger spent much of his youth growing up in Federal Way.
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 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.
Triple-A All-Star Game: We’re hosting it at Cheney Stadium on July 12, and fan balloting is live now – go here and vote for who you want to see.
- Tyler O’Neill spoke with MiLB.com about his big night at the plate.
- The Mariners made it six straight wins, welcoming Felix Hernandez back with plenty of run support in an 13-3 win over Houston. Three takeaways from the game.
- Regardless of how he performed, the mere presence of Felix Hernandez makes the Mariners better, Matt Calkins writes.
- Bob Dutton has an article explaining the option of Andrew Moore to Tacoma right after he recorded his first major league win.
- Mariners first round draft pick Evan White was introduced to the media.
- The broadcast details were announced for the Triple-A All-Star Game. I’ll be doing the national radio broadcast with Pawtucket’s Josh Maurer (as long as he doesn’t get called up to the big leagues before July 12).
PCL Game Reports:
- Salt Lake literally knocked out Las Vegas starter Wilfredo Boscan in the first inning of a 7-1 win at Cashman Field.
- Fresno scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to beat Sacramento, 7-6. Teoscar Hernandez had the game-winning knock.
- Hot-hitting Mike Tauchman had three hits and four RBI in Albuquerque’s 9-5 win over El Paso.
- Round Rock’s fourth homer of the game was a crucial three-run shot by Jared Hoying in an 8-6 win over Iowa. World Series star Kyle Schwarber reports to Iowa on Monday.
- Oklahoma City knocked off Nashville, 4-2, behind the pitching of Trevor Oaks. The paper has a story on our former guy Mike Freeman.
- Omaha’s interesting-but-wild pitching prospect Josh Staumont walked everybody in an 8-4 loss to Memphis.
- Led by Scott Copeland, New Orleans had excellent pitching in a 4-1 win over Colorado Springs.