The Tacoma Rainiers extended their win streak to six with a 5-2 victory in Las Vegas on Friday night, and outfielder Luis Liberato made a terrific defensive play to help set the tone.
The game itself was very uncharacteristic of Las Vegas Ballpark: a low-scoring affair, with several defensive highlights, each team hitting just one home run, and a short time of game.
That made a defensive play like Liberato’s increase in importance, as it saved a run in the early innings.
Las Vegas had runners at second and third with one out when Pete Kozma singled tight to the left field line. Check out this throw:
Luis Liberato showing off the arm. That is a great throw. pic.twitter.com/NQ6DH4pmUI
— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) June 19, 2021
A perfect throw, right on the money to catcher Cal Raleigh, who completed the play with an excellent tag.
That play helped Rainiers starter Darren McCaughan get out of the inning with just one run scored. It also seemed to get him on a roll: after walking the next batter, McCaughan retired ten straight hitters with an ease you don’t see too often. McCaughan had an eight-pitch inning in the 4th, a nine-pitch inning in the 5th, and then a four-pitch inning in the 6th.
Overall, McCaughan lasted eight innings and surrendered just two runs. That’s an especially terrific start in this stadium, where scores are typically very high. High scoring conditions appeared to be in play last night, too, with the wind blowing out to right field most of the game.
Looking at the big picture, the game could be a turning point for McCaughan and the Rainiers. It was the young right-hander’s first truly great outing in one of the league’s many launching pads. He’s had several strong outings at home, but the road is a different animal in this league. If the Rainiers can count on McCaughan to provide solid outings in these high elevation desert cities it would be a huge help moving forward. He’ll be tested again in his next start, which will be in mile-high Albuquerque.
Cal Raleigh’s 23-game hitting streak ended last night with an 0-for-4. He put the ball in play three times, but three routine outs were recorded. He was left stranded on deck when Donovan Walton grounded into a double play to end the top of the ninth.
It was an incredible streak for Raleigh, who hit .396 (38-for-96) during the run that began over a month ago on May 15. Chatting with him briefly after the game, Raleigh was fully aware of the streak of course, and he realizes that he may never have a streak longer than this again. He also had a great outlook: “Let’s start another one tomorrow!”
YESTERDAY: Tacoma made it six straight wins behind the pitching of Darren McCaughan who went eight innings and allowed just two runs in a 5-2 victory. Luis Liberato hit a two-run homer and gunned down a runner at home plate from left field, Jose Marmolejos had three hits, and Brian Schlitter earned his 100th career Triple-A save. However, Cal Raleigh went 0-for-4 to end his hitting streak at 23 games.
TODAY: Tacoma (21-15) at Las Vegas (18-20), 7:05 PT.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan.
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 2-0.
PITCHERS: RHP Robert Dugger (0-0, 18.00) at RHP Paul Blackburn (2-2, 4.46)
This will be Dugger’s second appearance and first start since getting optioned to Tacoma. The Rainiers are going to begin building up his pitch counts as a regular starting pitcher.
ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday the Mariners called up pitchers Yohan Ramirez and Vinny Nittoli, and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to Tacoma. The Rainiers placed catcher Jacob Nottingham (oblique) on the injured list.
HOT HITTERS: Cal Raleigh saw his 23-game hitting streak come to an end. He was 38-for-96 (.396) during the streak, which started on May 15… it’s Tacoma’s longest hitting streak since Chad Akers tied the franchise record of 26 in 1999… Eric Filia has reached base in nine straight games… Jarred Kelenic has back-to-back two-hit games, and he has homered in three of his last six games… acting manager Tony Arnerich is 9-4 filling in for Kristopher Negron, who is away on paternity leave.
OPPONENT NEWS: Las Vegas has allowed 68 runs to score during a five-game losing streak… Frank Schwindel was on a tear at the plate last week, homering in five straight games and winning the league’s Player of the Week award. He has belted seven homers in his last ten games… outfielder Nate Mondou is from Tacoma and went to Charles Wright Academy… coaches Rick Rodriguez and Tommy Everidge both played for Tacoma, although Everidge is more remembered as a rival during his long time with Sacramento.
BROADCAST: All games will be broadcast free on a live audio stream which is available right here.
Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station carrying the games at this time.
TRIPLE-A WEST SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
- The Mariners had one of their most impressive performances of the year in a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay last night.
- Justin Dunn went on the injured list and the Mariners are going to use a five-man rotation for a few weeks, helped by off-days in the schedule.
- Cool story from the L.A. Times on Zach Lee, and the infamous trade for Chris Taylor.
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About the Tacoma Rainiers
The Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. The Rainiers are a member of the Triple-A West. Tacoma has been a Mariners affiliate since establishing the Rainiers moniker in 1995.
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