The Rainiers picked up a nice win last night, beating Salt Lake in the 12th inning on Erick Mejia’s sacrifice fly that brought home Alex Blandino with the winning run. That ended the drama of the extra innings, which all begin with an automatic runner placed at second base and completely change the way the game is played.
But the real fun was in the game leading up to the extra innings. We saw an outstanding pitcher’s duel for the first six innings, and then some great relief work for both squads.
Justus Sheffield brought his A-game to the mound, lasting six innings and allowing two runs. He gave up five hits, and only two could be described as well-struck balls. Sheffield did not walk anyone, and he struck out seven.
On the other side, Salt Lake’s Reid Detmers had one of the most dominant starts we have seen at Cheney Stadium in quite some time. Making his first minor league appearance of the year after being sent down by the Angels, Detmers pitched with fire. His very first pitch of the game was hit by Jarred Kelenic for a routine fly out to center. Then he struck out the next seven batters in a row, showing great command of four pitches.
Detmers was perfect until the fifth, when Brian O’Keefe singled and Zach Green followed with a double, putting runners at second and third with no outs. Detmers responded by striking out the next three batters in order to escape the jam.
Alex Blandino was able to connect for a solo homer off Detmers in the bottom of the sixth inning, making it 2-1. That was the lone blemish on Detmers’ line: he went six innings, allowed one run on three hits, walked one, and struck out 14. The 14 strikeouts tied the Salt Lake franchise record, also held by Jered Weaver and the late Tyler Skaggs.
Tacoma kept striking out against the Bees bullpen. In a 12 inning game, Rainiers batters whiffed 21 times! Yet they won.
Zach Green had a dramatic moment in the bottom of the ninth inning, driving an opposite-field home run to tie the game 2-2. It was Green’s tenth home run of the season, which ranks second on the team, and it ended a longball drought for Green. He had not homered since May 19.
We got to extra innings, and Tacoma had not been good at automatic runner baseball this season, going 1-5 in extra-inning games prior to last night. The Rainiers finally won it in the 12th inning, and put and end to a four-game skid.
The Rainiers have been streaky lately, in terms of wins and losses, so maybe this means they are now going to string together some wins again.
YESTERDAY: The Rainiers won in 12 innings against Salt Lake, 6-5, on Erick Mejia‘s game-winning sacrifice fly. Tacoma trailed 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth when Zach Green homered to right field, tying the game. Then each team scored their automatic runner in each extra inning until Tacoma got two runs in the bottom of the 12th. The Rainiers ended a four-game losing streak.
TODAY: Salt Lake Bees (35-39) at Tacoma Rainiers (29-44), 7:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Lou Marson.
SEASON SERIES: Salt Lake leads, 10-7.
PITCHERS: RHP Mike Mayers (0-1, 10.57) at LHP Roenis Elias (0-0, 3.26)
It’s a bullpen game for the Rainiers, which won’t be a problem since the active roster currently has 15 relievers on it. That’s not an exaggeration. The Rainiers have four starters and 15 relievers on a massive 19-man pitching staff right now.
ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday outfielder Forrest Wall was reinstated from the injured list.
HOT HITTERS: Jarred Kelenic has a six-game hitting streak… both Alex Blandino and Mason McCoy have reached base safely in ten straight games… McCoy has a four-game hitting streak… Erick Mejia had his five-game hitting streak end last night, but he did hit the walk-off sac fly.
OPPONENT NEWS: Salt Lake entered the series having won two straight games, prior to that they had lost 11 of 12 including a six-game sweep in Albuquerque… infielder Kean Wong has a six-game hitting streak, with 12 hits and seven RBI… Magneuris Sierra is hitting .333 in the month of June… the Bees have three former Rainiers in their bullpen: Jonathan Aro, Brian Moran, and Zack Weiss. Former Rainiers outfielder Dillon Thomas rejoined Salt Lake on Wednesday.
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.