Against all odds at high-scoring Southwest University Park, Tacoma pitched two shutouts in a doubleheader sweep of the El Paso Chihuahuas on Thursday night.
Jon Niese had his best start for Tacoma in the opener, pitching five scoreless innings without allowing a runner to get past first base in a 4-0 win. Rehabilitating Mariners reliever Gerson Bautista pitched the final two innings, allowing one single and finishing the Rainiers sixth shutout of the season.
The second shutout – Tacoma’s seventh of the season, just one behind PCL leader San Antonio – was an Anthony Misiewicz special. As the National Spelling Bee drew attention from around the nation, M-I-S-I-E-W-I-C-Z delivered six terrific innings of scoreless ball, scattering just a pair of hits. He retired 14 straight batters between the first and sixth innings. Matt Festa finished off the game, and the Rainiers had a 7-0 win.
The two wins pushed Tacoma over the .500 mark for the first time all season – in fact, it’s the first time since July 22, 2018 when Tacoma was 51-50.
Tacoma moved into first place in the wacky Pacific-North Division, in which the Rainiers are at the moment the only one of the four teams to have an above-.500 record. It’s going to be an interesting division race this summer, for sure.
The Rainiers have won three in a row, and five of the last six, but we are in Triple-A and Tacoma’s scheduled starting pitcher for tonight has been scratched, creating a ‘bullpen game’ on a day in which the Mariners are shuffling the roster around. We’ll see if the team can keep it going tonight!
YESTERDAY: Tacoma swept a doubleheader by pitching a pair of shutouts in El Paso. Jon Niese and Gerson Bautista combined on a six-hitter to win the first game, 4-0. It was Anthony Misiewicz and Matt Festa combining on a three-hitter for a 7-0 win in the nightcap. The Rainiers moved over .500 for the first time this season and took first place in the division.
ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday the Rainiers added reliever Reggie McClain from Double-A Arkansas. Also, reliever Sam Tuivailala‘s rehabilitation assignment ended. Today the Mariners announced that reliever Ruben Alaniz has been claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds, and scheduled starter Erik Swanson has been placed on the injured list (hamstring). The Mariners have called up reliever Chasen Bradford and optioned David McKay to Tacoma, with McKay expected to report tomorrow. There will be more moves before first pitch tonight.
TODAY: Tacoma (28-27) at El Paso (34-20), 6:05 Pacific.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Diego Padres.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Edwin Rodriguez.
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 5-3.
PITCHERS: RHP Mike Wright (0-0, 9.00) at LHP Jerry Keel (4-1, 5.34)
HOT HITTERS: Tim Lopes has a seven-game hitting streak, and the last five games have been multiple-hit performances… Ian Miller has reached base safely in 12 straight games, and he is batting .351 in May… Kristopher Negron has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, collecting 20 hits during that span… Braden Bishop is 22-for-68 with three homers since returning from the big leagues.
OPPONENT NEWS: El Paso just helped out the Rainiers by winning three-of-four in a road series at Fresno… Luis Urias had his 11-game hitting streak, and his streak of 29 straight games reaching base, end in the second game of the doubleheader… rehabbing catcher Francisco Mejia and infielder/outfielder Jose Pirela will be playing in this series.
FAMILIAR FACES: You want former Rainiers? El Paso has ’em. Seth Mejias-Brean, Boog Powell, and Dillon Overton are on the active roster, with Tyler Higgins on the injured list. They also have Seattle University product Eric Yardley, who hails from the Tri-Cities.
BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 5:50 on South Sound Talk 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.
- Yusei Kikuchi had a rough day and the Mariners lost to the Angels, 9-3.
- Out-of-touch Angels manager Brad Ausmus did not start Shohei Ohtani against Kikuchi. C’mon, dude.
- The MLB draft is coming next week. Todd Milles has five players from Washington likely to get picked. USS Mariner has some thoughts on what the M’s strategy might be.
In the PCL:
- Fresno outfielder Yadiel Hernandez had three hits and five RBI in a 13-7 win over Salt Lake. Bees outfielder Jarrett Parker hit three solo home runs, giving him nine homers on the year. Never mix politics and baseball: the Grizzlies have lost two corporate sponsors in the wake of their Memorial Day Mistake.
- Las Vegas outfielder Seth Brown had three hits including his 12th homer of the season in an 8-4 win at Sacramento.
- Brian Mundell reached base four times as Albuquerque took down Reno, 7-5.
- Oklahoma City scored twice in the top of the tenth inning to claim a 10-8 win over Memphis. Kyle Garlick had three hits and five RBI.
- Omaha starter Scott Blewett didn’t, allowing one earned run over 5.2 innings to beat San Antonio, 3-2.
- Iowa shut out Round Rock, 7-0, behind six innings of two-hit ball from Alec Mills.
- New Orleans stole five bases and rode a strong start by Dustin Beggs to a 5-3 win at Nashville.