Last night the Rainiers won a crazy game in Reno, 10-9 in ten innings. This game had everything: homers, extra-base hits, comebacks, unlikely heroes, and even some great relief pitching. Let’s break it down.
Tacoma built a 7-2 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning. Jose Godoy and Jantzen Witte hit back-to-back homers in the second inning, which was the third time the team has connected for back-to-back homers in the last two games. Donovan Walton hit a solo homer in the fifth, and doubled in a run during the sixth inning. It appeared that the Rainiers had the game under control.
But those are dangerous words in Reno, as we have learned over the years. You rarely “have the game under control.” That was the case again last night, as the Aces scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie it up, 7-7. They had four hits and Tacoma contributed an error to assist in the rally.
The Aces took the lead in the seventh, on an RBI single from Andrew Young. They added an insurance run in the eighth on a line drive homer by Nick Heath.
So we went to the ninth inning with Reno leading, 9-7. The Aces brought in their top-shelf closer, Miguel Aguilar. Aguilar leads the league with 15 saves, and he had not blown a save all season – until last night.
Marcus Wilson opened the ninth with a broken-bat single to left, and then Aguilar walked Taylor Trammell putting the tying runners on base. Brian O’Keefe grounded out, advancing the runners into scoring position.
That brought up Jose Marmolejos, a left-handed hitter, and Aguilar is a left-handed pitcher. Marmolejos was hitting .474 against left-handed pitchers on the year. Aguilar struck him out.
Next up was Jose Godoy with the Rainiers down to their last out. Godoy was batting .128 against left-handed pitchers (I honestly thought manager Kristopher Negron was going to pinch-hit for him). Godoy came through in the clutch, looping a two-run single into shallow left-center to tie the game. It was Godoy’s third hit of the game, and he finished the day with four RBI.
Brian Schlitter came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning in a 9-9 tie. How many times over the years have we seen the Rainiers make a comeback in Reno, only to get walked off in the bottom of the ninth? Not this time. Schlitter retired the side, striking out two of the three batters.
The tenth inning started with Witte as the automatic runner at second base, and Luis Liberato at the plate against Reno reliever Keegan Curtis. Negron told me after the game that he instructed Liberato to do whichever he thought was his best chance to advance the runner to third: swing away and try to pull the ball, or lay down a bunt.
Liberato elected to bunt, and it worked out perfectly. His bunt went to the third base side of the mound, where Curtis picked it up. Curtis had no chance to throw out Liberato at first, but he tried anyway, and fired the ball wildly down the right field line. Witte scored the go-ahead run and the Rainiers had a 10-9 lead.
Tacoma then proceeded to load the bases with no one out, and the opportunity for multiple runs and a big lead was there. But Curtis was able to bear down and escape the jam with no further damage.
Schlitter stayed in the game for the bottom of the tenth, and Reno’s automatic runner was placed at second base. The veteran worked through the inning with aplomb, getting two ground outs and a strikeout to strand the runner and seal a 10-9 win.
The Rainiers have won eight of the last ten games, and moved a season-best ten games over the .500 mark. Tacoma drew closer to first-place Reno, and is now just three games out. There are four more games remaining in this series, and another six-game series remaining between the teams next month.
We are still on Air Quality Index watch, and likely will be for the remainder of this series. Smoke from the Dixie Fire in California has blown into Reno, socking in the city. If the AQI is over 200 they consider postponing the game. Last night it was around 165 when we started play.
YESTERDAY: The Rainiers won a wild one on Friday night, 10-9 in ten innings, as detailed above. Tacoma pulled within three games of first place Reno.
TODAY: Tacoma (45-35) at Reno (48-32), 6:35.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Arizona Diamondbacks.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Blake Lalli.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 7-7.
PITCHERS: RHP Robert Dugger (1-4, 8.31) at RHP Edgar Arredondo (1-1, 4.50)
Reno was scheduled to start one of their top pitchers, Humberto Castellanos, but he was scratched today and the reliever Arredondo is pitching instead. Castellanos has been going back-and-forth between Triple-A and the majors this year, so maybe he got some good news.
HOT HITTERS: Jantzen Witte has gone 32-for-91 (.352) over his last 26 games – he homered in his first at-bat returning from paternity leave last night… Luis Liberato has a six-game hitting streak… Sam Travis has gone 16-for-44 over his last 11 games… Jack Reinheimer has a six-game hitting streak.
OPPONENT NEWS: Reno lost the final two games of its six-game series at Sacramento, settling for a split. The Aces have not lost a series this season… speedster Nick Heath has a seven-game hitting streak… Ildemaro Vargas has a five-game hitting streak… newly acquired Cooper Hummel hit for the cycle in his second game after being traded to Arizona/Reno, Saturday at Sacramento… Seth Beer is 7-for-16 over the last four games.
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.
TRIPLE-A WEST SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
- The Mariners lost a one-run game in extra innings to the Yankees last night – that’s something they haven’t been doing often this year.
- Pitchers are approaching Luis Torrens differently, and the Mariners have noticed.
- Team USA had to settle for the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics after getting shut out by Japan this morning, 2-0. Eric Filia went 1-for-3 in the game, but the US had just six hits. Congrats to Eric and all of Team USA for their strong showing. Hopefully Filia will bring his medal to Cheney and show it to everyone during the next homestand.
Listen to every home and away Tacoma Rainiers game for free HERE. You can also download the MiLB First Pitch app for a free and easy one-click listening experience at home, work or in your car. Watch an HD video broadcast of every game with an MiLB.TV subscription. Use code: RAINIERS to save $10 on an annual subscription.
About the Tacoma Rainiers
The Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. The Rainiers are a member of the Triple-A West. Tacoma has been a Mariners affiliate since establishing the Rainiers moniker in 1995.
The most up-to-date news and notes about the Tacoma Rainiers and Cheney Stadium can be found at WeRTacoma.com, or by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand), Instagram (@tacomarainiers) and liking the team on Facebook.