After it was all said and done last night, I said on the air that I wouldn’t blame anybody for turning off the game when Las Vegas took an 8-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning.
At that point the Rainiers had been outscored 17-1 over the previous 15 innings, manager Pat Listach had been ejected three innings prior, and Las Vegas ace Tyler Pill had tossed five shutout innings. It certainly didn’t feel like a winnable game. The outlook was grim.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Tyler O’Neill continued his recent surge with a solo homer to right-center, making it 8-1. Then Leonys Martin singled to right, and one out later Andrew Aplin homered to make it 8-3 at the end of the sixth inning.
OK, 8-3 is a little better, going to the seventh inning, but it still didn’t feel like a winnable game.
Nick Hagadone pitched a scoreless top of the seventh, and Las Vegas brought in reliever Logan Taylor to pitch the bottom of the inning.
Boog Powell singled with one out, and with two outs Martin lined a change-up over the right field fence for a two-run homer. Suddenly, it was 8-5 and the Rainiers were in striking distance.
Hagadone pitched another scoreless inning in the eighth – he was the unsung hero, going 2.2 shutout innings to enable the comeback.
Taylor helped out the Rainiers in the bottom of the eighth inning, walking Aplin and D.J. Peterson to start the inning. This is when the comeback started to feel real, like it was going to happen. A big comeback always requires a mistake or two by the opposition, and these walks were the mistakes.
Tyler Smith struck out for the first out, and Las Vegas brought in left-hander Alberto Baldonado to face Danny Muno. Muno singled to right center, scoring Aplin to make it 8-6 and putting the tying runners on base.
Tuffy Gosewisch was the next hitter, and Baldonado started him off with two strikes. Gosewisch then pulled the 0-2 pitch down the left field line and into the corner, scoring Peterson and Muno with the tying runs.
Now the Rainiers had to take the lead.
Powell flied out to deep right field, allowing Gosewisch to tag up and advance to third, but there were two outs.
That brought up O’Neill, and he singled to right-center, scoring Gosewisch with the go-ahead run.
Emilio Pagan came in from the bullpen and struck out the side in the top of the ninth, sealing the 9-8 victory.
It was an utterly remarkable comeback. Down 8-0 in the sixth inning, score nine unanswered runs, win it 9-8.
I’m pleased to report that it looked like the majority of the Monday night crowd of 3,125 stuck around for the finish. When Tacoma was trailing 8-0 in the sixth inning, the sun was still shining and it wasn’t even 8:00 yet. It was too early to go home! Then the comeback began, and the fans were there to see it.
Yesterday: What a comeback! (see above)
Today: Las Vegas (29-48) at Tacoma (39-36), 6:05.
Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.
Season Series: Tacoma leads, 6-2.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Donovan Hand (1-3, 6.99) at RHP Andrew Moore (3-1, 3.19).
Hot Rainiers: Andrew Aplin is 12-for-31 with ten RBI over his last 12 games… Boog Powell is 10-for-20 with a homer over his last five games… Jonathan Aro had two outstanding relief appearances in Reno, pitching 4.1 shutout innings allowing one hit.
Look Out For: Dominic Smith has a 13-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 with the only hitless game at Tacoma on June 11… Kevin Plawecki has a ten-game hitting streak, with three homers during the streak… Matt Reynolds has homered three times in the last four games… after hitting .404 in April and .322 in May, top prospect Amed Rosario is batting just .221 in June.
Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: Las Vegas doesn’t have any.
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.
- The News Tribune has a brief recap of the comeback, with some quotes.
- Here’s the situation with Andrew Moore‘s start tonight. He’ll throw about 70 pitches.
- Christian Caple has a look at new Mariners reliever Max Povse.
- The M’s were off last night, but they have gone 18-10 since May 28. Ryan Divish has details on the team’s surge.
- Matt Caulkins is a believer: the M’s are going to end their playoff drought.
PCL Game Reports:
- Salt Lake helped out the Rainiers by beating Reno in the tenth inning, 6-5, on Nolan Fontana‘s game-ending sacrifice fly.
- Fresno blew a four-run lead in the ninth, then beat Albuquerque in the tenth inning, 7-6. Tyler White had the game-winning hit. Meanwhile it appears the Fresno team is about to be sold, and the prospective new owners have been identified.
- Tyler Beede and Sacramento held El Paso to four hits in a 4-2 win at Southwest University Park.
- Colorado Springs hammered Omaha, 14-3, as Ivan De Jesus Jr. went 5-for-5. Triple-A baseball is leaving the Springs, but right now there is a lot of talent on the field. A columnist for the local paper explains the baseball landscape in Colorado Springs.
- Scott Barlow pitched Oklahoma City to a 3-2 road win at Memphis.
- Nashville’s Renato Nunez hit his league-leading 20th home run in a 5-3 win over Round Rock.
- Pitching should have been the story, but instead it was Kyle Schwarber mania when he reported to the Iowa Cubs last night. Schwarber fanned three times before hitting a single in Iowa’s 1-0 win over New Orleans.