Tacoma ended a four-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory at Round Rock on Monday night, and absolutely nothing about it was easy.
Mike Wright got the start and he delivered 4.2 scoreless innings as he continues to have success since moving to the rotation. But they were not easy innings – the Express got a few hits, and left a runner stranded at third base four times in the first five innings.
John Andreoli homered in the top of the fourth inning, giving Tacoma its first lead since last Wednesday, and then he ripped a two-run shot in the seventh to make it 3-0.
Round Rock put runners at first and second with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Rainiers reliever Reggie McClain struck out the rehabilitating Jose Altuve, but Josh Rojas smoked the very next pitch to deep right field. A twisting and turning Andreoli made the catch up against the right field fence for the final out of the inning, saving a pair of runs.
That catch became paramount when Round Rock scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning, with Drew Ferguson‘s second triple of the game being the central hit.
We went to the bottom of the ninth with Tacoma clinging to the 3-2 lead. Parker Markel came in from the bullpen and hit leadoff man Alex De Goti with a pitch, then walked Altuve, and we were in big trouble.
But Markel struck out Rojas for the first out, setting up a showdown with slugger Kyle Tucker. Using nothing but 96-98 mph fastballs, Markel struck out Tucker on four pitches to record a huge second out.
We weren’t out of the woods yet. Markel went to a full count on Taylor Jones, eventually walking him to load the bases. But the usually patient Ferguson swung at the first pitch, hitting a dribbler up the first base line that Markel fielded and turned into the final out of the game, securing the win.
The Rainiers won the game despite getting just four hits: two singles from Tim Lopes, and the Andreoli homers.
Tacoma desperately needed that one, and the Rainiers can call it a respectable road trip against two of the top teams in the league if they win the final game tonight. The Rainiers are off on Wednesday (and so is this blog!), and will host El Paso on Thursday night in the opener of a five-game series at Cheney Stadium.
YESTERDAY: It was John Andreoli Day at the Dell Diamond, as the Rainiers outfielder homered twice to drive in all three runs and made a difficult game-saving catch in right field as the Rainiers picked up a 3-2 win over the Express. Tacoma ended a four-game losing streak and is now 2-4 on the road trip, with a chance to salvage a split of the Round Rock series in the final game tonight.
ROSTER MOVE: Yesterday the Rainiers activated pitcher Erik Swanson from the injured list. He’s going to be eased back into action as a reliever.
TODAY: Tacoma (33-38) at Round Rock (42-28), 5:05 Pacific.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Houston Astros.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Mickey Storey.
SEASON SERIES: Round Rock leads, 2-1.
PITCHERS: LHP Sean Nolin (0-0, 6.75) at RHP Akeem Bostick (4-2, 6.02)
HOT HITTERS: John Andreoli has reached base in ten of his last 12 games, and he is 4-for-6 over the last two games… Ian Miller is second in the PCL with 23 doubles, and he has been successful on his last 13 stolen base attempts… Tim Lopes has four hits over the last two games.
OPPONENT NEWS: The Express just won two-of-three from Reno… Round Rock scores a ton: they have tallied nine or more runs in eight of the last 13 games… Houston Astros stars Jose Altuve and Collin McHugh each started rehabilitation assignments with the Express on Friday… Nick Tanielu had his 14-game hitting streak end Sunday night. He had 26 hits and 24 RBI during the streak… Drew Ferguson has gone 8-for-13 with two doubles and two triples during this series… touted prospect Kyle Tucker has 23 home runs, which is tied for the lead in all of Minor League Baseball. He’s 6-for-12 with two homers in this series.
FAMILIAR FACES: Round Rock doesn’t have any former Rainiers, but they do have two local players. Taylor Jones graduated from Kentwood High School (Class of 2012) and played at Gonzaga before getting drafted. Nick Tanielu graduated from Federal Way High School (Class of 2011) and played two seasons at Washington State.
BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 4:50 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.
- The Mariners bullpen had a rough day in a 6-4 loss to Kansas City. However, Tommy Milone continues to pitch well.
- First base is cleared for him on the major league roster, but Ryon Healy is going to be out for a while longer with his back injury.
- Braden Bishop returned to the Mariners clubhouse and discussed his lacerated spleen.
- Former Rainiers slugger Dan Vogelbach has a chance to be an all-star.
In the PCL:
- Iowa helped out the Rainiers by beating first-place Sacramento, 10-8. Trent Giambrone and Donnie Dewees each hit a two-run homer.
- Fresno shut out Omaha, 8-0, as Joe Ross and four relievers combined on a two-hitter. Jose Marmolejos drove in four runs.
- Mauricio Dubon continues to hit. The San Antonio infielder went 3-for-5 with a double, a homer, and four RBI as the Missions took down Reno last night, 8-4.
- Here’s one for you: Las Vegas won at Memphis, 15-6, and the Aviators scored in only two innings. They scored seven runs in the second inning, and eight runs in the fifth inning. Hot hitting Franklin Barreto contributed a grand slam.
- New Orleans took a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning at Albuquerque, and then Gabriel Guerrero connected for a three-run homer for some needed insurance runs in a 5-3 win. The big picture story here is that Albuquerque’s Kyle Freeland had his first good start since being optioned by the Rockies, allowing two runs in six innings. The Rockies owner visited Albuquerque.
- Oklahoma City catcher Will Smith homered in his fifth consecutive game as the Dodgers edged El Paso, 3-2.
- Salt Lake at Nashville got rained out and they are hoping to play two today.