Tacoma’s Sean Nolin delivered one of the best starts we’ll see all year in an 8-1 win at Fresno on Friday night, and it came with a little bit of controversy.
Making just his fourth start for Tacoma since being picked up out of the Atlantic League, the former major leaguer was in complete command at Chukchansi Park.
Nolin was working on a perfect game with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and Collin Cowgill at the plate for Fresno. Cowgill hit a grounder to shortstop, where Kristopher Negron fielded the ball and made his throw to first base. The throw was offline, Ryan Court came off the base to catch it and tried to tag Cowgill running by, but Cowgill eluded the tag and was safe at first.
This play is universally ruled an error on the shortstop – an accurate throw would have been an out – but the official scorer ruled it a hit, ending the no-hit bid for Nolin.
Nolin just kept pitching, and getting outs. He finished the sixth inning, retired the side in the seventh, and struck out the leadoff man in the eighth.
At this point you couldn’t help but wonder what was going to happen if Nolin finished the game without allowing another hit. We were going to have to send video of the play to the league office, have them review it, they would have reversed the call and taken away the hit, and we would celebrate a no-hitter like three days after it happened, during the all-star break? Really?
Fresno first baseman Jake Noll spared us from that story line by working a long at-bat and ending it with a solo homer to left field in the bottom of the eighth inning. The official scorer was probably happier than Noll while watching the baseball fly over the left field fence, taking him off the hook.
After the game, they changed the play to an error as it should have been all along. So Nolin really did have a no-hit bid for 7.1 innings.
Away from the no-hitter drama, it was the best pitching performance by a Tacoma starter so far this season. Nolin has been really strong for four straight starts for Tacoma: three wins and no losses, 24.2 innings with just six runs allowed, with no more than two runs allowed in any of his starts.
Today is a doubleheader because Fresno chooses to not play the Sunday before the break, giving their players four days off instead of three. There are several reasons for this, the big one being that they don’t draw well for 100-degree Sunday afternoon games and playing a night game before the all-star break is frowned upon by nearly everyone in the industry.
We are going to take a couple days off during the break here on the blog. Check back mid-day on Wednesday when we’ll post links and information for that night’s Triple-A All-Star Game, which starts at 6:00 Pacific time on MLB Network and 850 AM.
YESTERDAY: Tacoma scored some early runs thanks to a three-run homer in the second inning by Ryan Court, then sat back and enjoyed one of the finest pitching performances of the season. Sean Nolin went 7.1 innings, allowing one hit and one runs, with one walk and eight strikeouts as Tacoma beat Fresno, 8-1.
ROSTER MOVES: Infielder Ryan Court has been placed on the Temporarily Inactive List to attend to a family matter (he’ll be back after the all-star break), so infielder Connor Kopach will join the Rainiers for today’s doubleheader from Class-A Modesto. Relievers David McKay and Parker Markel were promoted to Seattle, and pitcher Raymond Kerr joins Tacoma from nearby Modesto.
** Because Markel was Tacoma’s lone representative in the Triple-A All-Star Game, and he can’t participate if he’s in the majors, the Rainiers needed a new All-Star. That honor goes to… outfielder and base stealer extraordinaire Ian Miller. Congrats to Ian! We’ll write about his excellent season in Wednesday’s pre-All-Star Game post. **
TODAY: Tacoma (41-46) at Fresno (45-42), doubleheader, 5:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Washington Nationals.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Randy Knorr.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 3-3.
- G1: RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-8, 7.32) at LHP Ben Braymer (0-1, 9.35)
- G2: RHP Erik Swanson (0-0, 4.79) at RHP Logan Ondrusek (2-3, 10.05)
HOT HITTERS: Kristopher Negron has reached base via hit or walk 16 straight games… John Andreoli has reached base 40 times over his last 18 games… Ian Miller has reached base in 13 straight games, and he took the PCL lead in stolen bases with 22… Jaycob Brugman has homered five times over his last ten games… Kelby Tomlinson has hit safely in ten of his last 12 games.
OPPONENT NEWS: Fresno just won three-of-five at El Paso… Jose Marmolejos had a 15-game hitting streak end on Sunday… Yadiel Hernandez is a PCL All-Star, he homered three times in just ten at-bats against Tacoma when these teams played at Cheney in May… Taylor Gushue has homered twice in his last four games… Carter Kieboom will not play today, as he is traveling to participate in tomorrow’s MLB All-Star Futures Game.
FAMILIAR FACES: There are no former Rainiers on the Fresno roster, but pitching coach Brad Holman appeared in five games for the 1995 Rainiers.
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.
- We had an earthquake during the fifth inning last night. Here is the fans reaction in Fresno. Unrelated, we believe, check out those Grizzlies uniforms with the red pants.
- The Mariners Yusei Kikuchi provided a strong start, but the offense was pretty quiet in a 5-2 loss to Oakland last night.
- Matt Wisler joined the Mariners, and Mike Wright was designated for assignment.
In the PCL:
- Down 9-8, bottom of the ninth, runner on base, one out… and Reno’s Cody Decker blasted a game-ending home run, giving the Aces a 10-9 win over Sacramento and allowing the Rainiers to gain a game on both teams ahead of them in the standings.
- Austin Allen‘s second home run of the game was a two-run shot in the top of the tenth inning, and El Paso took down Salt Lake, 9-7.
- Las Vegas had 21 hits in a 16-3 dissection of Albuquerque. Corban Joseph went 4-for-5, pushing his PCL-leading batting average to .402. Maybe he can entertain us with a .400 run in August.
- Ian Happ hit a couple of homers to help life Iowa to a 9-8 win over visiting Memphis.
- Omaha starter Arnaldo Hernandez delivered 5.1 shutout innings, earning the win in a 9-2 decision over Nashville.
- Travis Shaw hit two homers and Trent Grisham connected once for San Antonio in a 6-5 win at New Orleans.
- Oklahoma City swept a doubleheader from visiting Round Rock, 1-0 and 4-3. Mitchell White and two relievers combined to pitch a two-hit shutout in the opening game, while D.J. Peters doubled and homered in the nightcap.