Everything was so nice for the Tacoma Rainiers on Saturday night.
The team had just picked up a tight 4-3 win at Oklahoma City, clinching a series victory. With four wins in the first five games, the Rainiers had knocked the Dodgers out of first place in the East Division.
Just one game remained in Oklahoma City, and then the road trip would move on to Las Vegas. The Rainiers had their most efficient starting pitcher on the hill. What could possibly go wrong?
After Tacoma took a 1-0 lead in the first, Oklahoma City loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning with no one out on two soft singles and a full-count pitch clock violation walk – which I believe was the first violation of the season for starter Darren McCaughan.
Jake Amaya was the next hitter, and McCaughan got him to pop up a foul ball on the first base side. Somehow the ball was not caught by first baseman Zach Green, who was charged with an error, and the at-bat continued for Amaya. Amaya responded by launching a grand slam to left field, and the rout was on.
Oklahoma City hit two more homers in the third inning and knocked out McCaughan. They added two runs in the fifth. Then the Rainiers made two errors and surrendered two more homers in the sixth, and it was 15-1.
Tacoma finally had something to feel good about in the top of the eighth when Marcus Wilson hit a three-run homer, but then Wilson moved to the pitcher’s mound in the bottom of the inning and surrendered five runs, giving us a 20-5 final score.
It was the first time Tacoma has allowed 20 runs in a game since early in the 2019 season (when it happened three times!), and it was only the ninth time it has happened since 1999. The five homers hit by Oklahoma City was the most the Rainiers have given up this year.
Now the team has arrived in Las Vegas for six games against the Aviators, who are barely hanging on in the West Division race. Las Vegas is in second place, but they are eight games behind first place Reno with 15 to go. Las Vegas does have six games remaining at home against Reno next week, so they are trying to pull within six games of first before that series begins to have a chance.
On the flip side, Tacoma can potentially eliminate Las Vegas from contention by winning the series that starts tonight. Let’s shoot for that!
YESTERDAY: The whole league was off yesterday. The Rainiers lost an ugly one on Sunday at Oklahoma City, 20-5, but still won the series four games to two. Tacoma had just six hits on Sunday, one of them being a three-run home run by Marcus Wilson.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (64-71) at Las Vegas Aviators (67-68), 7:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan
SEASON SERIES: Las Vegas leads, 12-6.
PITCHERS: LHP Justus Sheffield (6-7, 6.93) at LHP Zach Logue (3-4, 6.29)
ROSTER MOVES: None today as of post time.
HOT HITTERS: Mason McCoy has reached base safely in 17 of his last 18 games… Brian O’Keefe has hit safely in seven of his last nine games, going 12-for-38… Jonathan Villar has homered twice during a five-game hitting streak… Erick Mejia and Jarred Kelenic have five-game hitting streaks… Marcus Wilson has hit safely in four straight.
OPPONENT NEWS: Las Vegas returns home from a 12-game road trip. It started in Reno, where the Aviators missed an opportunity to gain in the standings by losing four of six. They rebounded by going 4-2 at Sacramento… the Aviators don’t currently have any former Rainiers players, but they do still have the Lake Tapps native and Charles Wright Academy alum Nate Mondou… Kevin Smith has a seven-game hitting streak, and Mondou has a six-gamer… 22-year-old Jordan Diaz was recently promoted to Triple-A and is considered a good hitting prospect.
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.
- Here’s this week’s Rainiers review from The News Tribune.
- The Mariners were off yesterday, after winning a wild one over the Braves on Sunday.
- Here’s where things stand as the M’s try to reach the playoffs.
- Double-A Arkansas outfielder Cade Marlowe has the No. 1 spot on this week’s edition of the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.
- Former Rainiers reliever Anthony Varvaro passed away in an accident on Sunday. He pitched for the Rainiers during the 2010 season, and had a brief stint with the Mariners, before moving on to the Atlanta Braves.
- In the PCL, rumors of a potential new ballpark in Salt Lake City have hit the newspapers. Could it be for major league expansion?