The advent of the automatic runner being placed at second base in extra-inning games has really created some emotional swings, and the Tacoma Rainiers had it all in the tenth inning last night.
The opening game of the Rainiers final homestand of the season was a tight, well-pitched affair for nine innings. Tacoma’s Jonathan Villar launched a game-tying solo homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth, sending us to extras with the score tied 2-2.
In the top of the tenth, Rainiers closer Nick Ramirez was brought into the game to try to escape the automatic jam that is created when a runner is placed at second base to start an inning. Ramirez did exactly that: he walked the first batter, putting runners at first and second, before striking out J.P. Martinez and getting Ryan Dorow to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
The team feels such as high after getting out of the top of an extra inning without a run scoring. You’re in a great position to win: all you need is one run, and you get an automatic runner placed at second base!
In the case of the bottom of the tenth inning last night, the automatic runner was Tacoma base stealing king Forrest Wall, and he promptly swiped third. Winning run at third, no one out, what could possibly go wrong?
Round Rock reliever Demarcus Evans did not give in. After falling behind in the count 3-0 to Mason McCoy, Evans battled back and struck him out. Then Round Rock manager Matt Hagen called a strategy meeting on the mound, and they decided to intentionally walk the left-handed Cade Marlowe to face the right-handed Kyle Lewis with a double play now possible.
That strategy worked, but maybe not the way they planned: Lewis put together a good plate appearance and eventually walked, loading the bases with one out. But Evans recovered to strike out Brian O’Keefe, and get Erick Mejia to pop up to end the inning.
That scoreless bottom of the tenth seemed to deflate the Rainiers, who were so high after escaping the top of the inning unscathed. Round Rock quickly took the lead in the top of the eleventh inning on an Elier Hernandez RBI double, and held on for a 3-2 win.
All told, we got a thrilling game to start our final homestand of the year, but not the result we were looking for in the end.
YESTERDAY: Round Rock won the series opener on Tuesday night, 3-2 in eleven innings. Tacoma trailed all game until Jonathan Villar launched a game-tying solo homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, sending us to extra innings tied 2-2. Neither team scored in the tenth, with the Rainiers unable to drive in the winning runner from third with no one out. Round Rock took the lead in the top of the 11th on Elier Hernandez‘s RBI double, and held on for the win. Darren McCaughan pitched well for Tacoma, allowing two runs (one earned) over seven innings.
TODAY: Round Rock Express (76-66) at Tacoma Rainiers (68-74), 6:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Texas Rangers.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Matt Hagen
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
PITCHERS: RHP Konner Wade (5-6, 5.16) at LHP Kolby Allard (3-3, 5.00)
ROSTER MOVES: None today as of publishing time.
HOT HITTERS: Mason McCoy has reached base safely in 23 of his last 24 games… Jonathan Villar has homered five times and driven in 12 runs during a ten-game hitting streak… Jarred Kelenic has an 11-game hitting streak, with 18 hits and only four strikeouts during the tear… Marcus Wilson has hit safely in five straight… Forrest Wall is 11-for-29 over his last seven games.
OPPONENT NEWS: Round Rock has faded down the stretch, losing six of the last seven games prior to their win last night… former Rainiers and Mariners outfielder James Jones is now a relief pitcher with Round Rock… Seattle native Josh Sale (Bishop Blanchet High School) and Federal Way’s Nick Tanielu (Federal Way High School, Washington State University) are with the Express… infielder Ezequiel Duran and starting pitcher Cole Winn are the most decorated prospects on the Round Rock roster.
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 were held to one hit – an infield single – in a loss at Oakland last night.
- Rick Rizzs nearly got holy smoked by a foul ball. Speaking for the broadcaster’s union, allow me to say that foul balls are the enemy and need to be banned.
- Once again, Larry Stone is arguing that Scott Servais should win the AL Manager of the Year award.
- Vaccination requirements to gain entry to Canada are easing, which could impact the MLB playoffs.