Score one for the River Cats.
Sacramento struck first, picking up an 8-6 win over the Rainiers in the opening game of a key stretch of games between the two clubs. The Rainiers now trail the first-place River Cats by four games, with five head-to-head battles remaining over the course of the next nine days.
The River Cats scored seven runs against Tacoma starter Sean Nolin, who had not allowed more than two runs in any of his first six appearances for Tacoma. Sacramento took an 8-1 lead into the seventh inning stretch, getting a strong outing from starting pitcher Aaron Phillips in his Triple-A debut.
As is their custom, the Rainiers rallied late to make things interesting. Tacoma scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, with Tim Lopes launching his first career grand slam.
In the ninth against Sacramento closer Fernando Abad, Eric Young Jr. and Lopes hit back-to-back singles with one out, putting the tying runners on base. But Abad was able to retire Ryan Court and Jaycob Brugman to end the game, and Sacramento had the 8-6 win.
Now there is a little pressure on the Rainiers to even the series tonight. Nabil Crismatt will make his first start since being promoted from the Texas League, where he was leading the circuit in ERA. First pitch is at 7:05.
YESTERDAY: Sacramento scored in five of the first six innings, building an 8-1 lead before the Rainiers made things interesting at the end. A five-run rally capped by a grand slam from Tim Lopes made it 8-6 after seven, and the Rainiers put two runners on base in the ninth before falling to the River Cats, 8-6. Tacoma is four games out of first place.
ROSTER MOVES: Mac Williamson is expected to report tonight, and Mariners reliever Hunter Strickland may begin a rehabilitation assignment tonight.
TODAY: Sacramento (52-47) at Tacoma (48-51), 7:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Francisco Giants.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Dave Brundage.
SEASON SERIES: Sacramento leads, 8-3.
PITCHERS: RHP Dereck Rodriguez (1-0, 4.63) at RHP Nabil Crismatt (0-1, 8.47)
HOT HITTERS: Tim Lopes has a 12-game hitting streak, and he had homered in three of his last five games… John Andreoli has a ten-game hitting streak, and he has reached base safely in 33 of his 37 games with Tacoma… Ian Miller leads the PCL in stolen bases with 25.
OPPONENT NEWS: Sacramento went 3-2 in a five-game series at Salt Lake, and is 6-4 since the all-star break… Zach Green has hit 23 home runs, and he missed a month with an injury and has only played in 64 games… Francisco Pena has an eight-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games… Joey Rickard has reached base safely in 15 straight games… Chris Shaw went 11-for-22 in the series at Salt Lake.
FAMILIAR FACES: Sacramento has former Rainiers switch-pitcher Pat Venditte. River Cats manager Dave Brundage played, coached, and managed (2006) for Tacoma.
BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 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 Rainiers game story in The News Tribune includes a segment on reliever David McKay.
- Mike Leake was perfect for eight innings against the Angels last night, and he finished with a 1-hit shutout. Dan Vogelbach pulled a Lobaton, hitting two three-run homers in the same game.
- Lauren Smith has details on Hunter Strickland‘s projected return, and more information on the progress of injured Mariners.
- In Cooperstown, Larry Stone takes us for a walk down Main Street.
In the PCL:
- Tied 4-4 going to the 11th inning at Reno, Fresno scored four times and hung on for an 8-5 win. Carter Kieboom‘s two-run homer was part of the 11th inning rally. Fresno is two games behind Sacramento, and two games ahead of Tacoma.
- El Paso hit four more homers, including a go-ahead two-run shot by Michael Gettys in the top of the seventh inning, and beat Albuquerque 7-5.
- Sheldon Neuse launched a three-run homer in the top of the first inning and Las Vegas never gave up the lead, beating Salt Lake 5-2.
- Memphis picked up an 8-4 win at Omaha as Adolis Garcia homered twice, giving him 20 on the year. Home plate umpire Jason Starkovich had a big game, ejecting a pitcher on each team, and he also got Omaha’s manager.
- Oklahoma City cruised to an 11-3 win over San Antonio. DJ Peters hit two homers and drove in three runs, Will Smith and Kyle Garlick also went deep, and Gavin Lux extended his hitting streak to 17 games (although his batting average fell to .515).
- Nashville topped Iowa, 6-5, as new acquisition Nick Solak homered twice. Sounds starter Tim Dillard lasted seven innings, allowing two runs.
- New Orleans beat Round Rock in the bottom of the tenth inning, 6-5, on a walk-off wild pitch.