Oklahoma City evened the season-opening series with a 6-5 win over the Rainiers in ten innings on Saturday night. This was an annoying game for Rainiers fans, as a number of events that could have gone either way ended up going in favor of Oklahoma City.
The big one came in the top of the eighth inning, with the score tied 4-4. Tacoma loaded the bases with two outs for Mike Ford, who already had three hits in the game. Ford got No. 4, a ground ball single through the left side of the infield. The go-ahead run scored from third. Mason McCoy started the play at second base, and running on contact he raced around third toward home. Pat Valaika was the runner at first, he advanced to second and took a turn there, but the Oklahoma City left fielder threw behind him and he was tagged for the final out of the inning.
The question was, did McCoy touch home before Valaika was tagged for the final out? The home plate umpire ruled that the out occurred first, and McCoy’s run didn’t count, inning over. Rainiers manager John Russell vehemently disagreed and argued for a while to no avail (he was able to refrain from getting ejected, but was obviously quite hot about it).
This is one of the rare plays where I have a better angle on it than anyone on field level, being high above it and behind home plate in the broadcast booth. McCoy clearly scored before the tag, and the Rainiers definitely got hosed out of a run.
That run ended up mattering. Tacoma led 5-4, instead of 6-4. Oklahoma City tied it in the bottom of the eighth, 5-5, and won it in the tenth by scoring their automatic runner on a two-out bloop single by Jahmai Jones.
It’s only the second game of the season, so you can’t get really worked up about it, but we definitely got a raw deal in this one.
YESTERDAY: Tacoma lost in ten innings at Oklahoma City, 6-5. Mike Ford went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBI, and both Mason McCoy and Zach DeLoach had three hits. Reliever Tayler Saucedo retired all five batters he faced, throwing 17 of his 18 pitches for strikes. The Rainiers left 14 runners on base, including the bases loaded in the first and tenth innings.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (1-1) at Oklahoma City Dodgers (1-1), 12:05 (Pacific).
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Los Angeles Dodgers.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Travis Barbary.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
PITCHERS: RHP Taylor Dollard (0-0, 0.00) at LHP Robbie Erlin (0-0, 0.00)
Dollard was the Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year last year at Double-A Arkansas, going 16-2 with a 2.25 ERA, and this will be his much-anticipated Triple-A debut. Erlin has played parts of eight seasons in the majors, and parts of five seasons in the PCL. Talk about a juxtaposition.
ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday reliever Gabe Speier, who did not pitch in a game for Tacoma, was called up by Seattle to replace the injured Robbie Ray.
HOT HITTERS: Mason McCoy has opened the season with back-to-back three-hit games… Zach DeLoach is 5-for-10… Mike Ford is 5-for-11… Jose Caballero is 1-for-2 but with four walks and an HBP; he’s reached base in seven of his eight plate appearances… shoot, the entire team’s batting average is .375 after two games.
OPPONENT NEWS: Oklahoma City had a really good season last year, but with no payoff: they went 84-66 and lost the division by one game to El Paso… Luke Williams and Hunter Feduccia hit three-run homers in the season opener Friday night… the top hitting prospect on the Oklahoma City roster is infielder Michael Busch, who lost a LA Dodgers spring training position battle to Miguel Vargas… Oklahoma City has two former Rainiers: reliever Tayler Scott, and catcher David Freitas.
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.
PCL SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to broadcasts and Gameday screens right here.
- The Mariners got shut out by Cleveland, 2-0. At least Logan Gilbert pitched well.
- The Mariners made it through the entire 2022 season without an injury to a starting pitcher. Not this year: Robbie Ray has landed on the injured list.
- Wise man Larry Stone reminds us to not get too worried early in the season.
- The Sacramento newspaper has a preview of the River Cats.