The Rainiers won a weird one in the 2023 home opener on Tuesday night, coasting to a 12-5 win over the visiting Reno Aces.
What made this game unusual was that the Rainiers had only four hits. That’s right, they scored 12 runs on just four hits.
Two of the hits were three-run homers. After a pair of walks, Brian O’Keefe laced an opposite-field liner for a three-run shot in the bottom of the third inning, bringing in the first runs of the season at Cheney Stadium. The next inning, Tacoma scored three more runs on a a single by Colin Moran, two Reno errors, a hit batter, and a handful of walks… and then Mike Ford roped his own three-run homer to the right field corner, making it 9-0 Rainiers.
Ford’s homer was the Rainiers last hit of the game, but the team added three more runs when Reno relievers issued six consecutive two-out walks in the bottom of the seventh inning. That was a little much, to be honest, but we’ll take it.
Twelve runs on four hits – and one of the hits didn’t factor in the scoring. That was an O’Keefe single in the first. So really, the Rainiers only needed three hits to score 12 runs. That’s pretty crazy.
Rainiers walks are continuing to mount up. Tacoma batters have now drawn 37 walks in four games, an average of 9.25 walks per game. I’m not sure if this is because Rainiers hitters have great strike zone judgement, or the opposing pitching staffs we’ve seen just can’t throw strikes – it’s probably a combination of both. We’ll see if it continues tonight – Reno starter Slade Cecconi is known for not issuing many walks, but this is his Triple-A debut so he might be a little nervous.
Big thanks to the Rainiers fans of the Pacific Northwest for showing out last night. Our opening night crowd of 5,172 was outstanding, and it was a lively group.
YESTERDAY: Despite getting only four hits, the Tacoma Rainiers scored a dozen runs and beat Reno in the home opener, 12-5. Two of the four hits were three-run homers: Brian O’Keefe hit one in the third inning, and Mike Ford capped a six-run rally in the fourth inning with his. Tacoma drew 12 walks, including six in a row with two outs in the seventh inning, forcing home three runs. Rainiers starting pitcher Tommy Milone tossed five shutout innings and earned the win in his season debut.
TODAY: Reno Aces (2-2) at Tacoma Rainiers (2-2), 6:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Arizona Diamondbacks.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Blake Lalli.
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 1-0.
PITCHERS: RHP Slade Cecconi (0-0, 0.00) at RHP Jose Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00)
Rodriguez pitched one scoreless inning in relief this past weekend at Oklahoma City, to get a little work in before making his first start today. He was a minor league free agent the Mariners targeted early; they signed him way back in November. Cecconi was the Diamondbacks supplemental first round draft pick (33rd overall) in 2020 out of the University of Miami, and he makes his Triple-A debut tonight.
ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday the Rainiers placed first baseman Evan White on the injured list (groin), and added reliever Fred Villarreal from Class-A Everett.
HOT HITTERS: Mike Ford has homered in three straight games, and has at least one hit in all four… Brian O’Keefe has launched three homers over his last two games, driving in eight runs…. Jose Caballero has reached base in 13 of his 17 plate appearances, for a .765 OBP… Delino DeShields and Mason McCoy have reached base safely in all four games… as a team, Tacoma hit .359 with a .486 OBP and scored 28 runs in the three games at Oklahoma City.
OPPONENT NEWS: The defending PCL Champions opened the season by taking two-of-three from rival Las Vegas in a high-scoring home series… Blake Lalli returns as Reno manager after stepping away last year to work in player development… Diego Castillo went 5-for-5 on opening day Friday… Buddy Kennedy has homered in two straight games… starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt is the highest-rated prospect on the Reno roster… reliever Anthony Misiewicz and infielder Jake Hager are the former Rainiers on the Reno 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.
- We’ve got good coverage of the Rainiers game from The News Tribune, which includes reaction from Brian O’Keefe and Tommy Milone, and an addendum on the background of new manager John Russell.
- The TNT also has a photo gallery of 23 images from the home opener.
- The Mariners four-game losing streak ended with a flurry of home runs from new players last night.
- Where are some of the Mariners top prospects opening the season in the minors? Find out at the end of this notebook.
- There were four other home openers in the PCL last night. The Sacramento River Cats had a big crowd (9,548) but lost to El Paso, 10-8. Fernando Tatis Jr. started his rehabilitation with El Paso, going 1-for-2 with two walks.
- Fans had to battle cold in the southwest, but the Isotopes faithful got to see Albuquerque beat Salt Lake.
- It was 41 degrees in Las Vegas as the Aviators lost their opener to Oklahoma City, 7-6 (Rainiers thorn Jahmai Jones went 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBI). The Aviators are playing their season under the shadow of rumors surrounding the Oakland A’s moving to Vegas.
- No media coverage is available of the Sugar Land Space Cowboys home opener, a 6-3 loss to Round Rock in front of a leaguewide-low crowd of 3,835. The Sugar Land franchise is a sleeping giant – deep in hibernation, unfortunately.