Left-hander Anthony Vasquez saw his first action of the season for the Tacoma Rainiers on Monday night and so did Vinnie Catricala’s bat.
Getting his first start in the Rainiers’ fifth game, Vasquez threw seven innings of one-hit ball while Catricala collected three hits and three RBI to fuel a 4-2 Pacific Coast League win over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox at Cheney Stadium.
The only hit the Sky Sox managed off Vasquez was a long one, a home run by Brandon Wood in the third inning. Aside from the homer, Vasquez gave up one walk and that was it. Five of his seven innings were easy as 1-2-3. Fifty-seven of his 85 pitches were strikes.
“It took some time to get loose,” Vasquez said. “After spring training, I had 11 days since I’ve thrown to a hitter. I wanted to get in there and keep the ball down and throw strikes.”
Vasquez said he retreated to the clubhouse between innings to work on his motion and timing, seeking the kind of consistency that will be more natural when he returns to a regular work schedule.
“He was outstanding tonight,” manager Daren Brown said. “He kept them off balance, didn’t make many mistakes at all, and we played solid defense behind him. The guys in the bullpen came in and got the job done at the end.”
Vasquez finished strong with the Rainiers last summer, putting together seven consecutive quality starts for Tacoma before getting called up to the Mariners on Aug. 23. The 175-pound USC grad from San Antonio got seven starts with the Mariners, coaxing just one win with an 8.90 ERA.
As for Catricala, Brown reminded that it’s early and batters are still “getting their feet under them.”
The 23-year-old third baseman, had scraped out only a pair of hits in his first 15 at-bats this season. Monday night, he singled, stole a base and scored in the first, doubled in the fifth and dropped a two-run bloop single into right in the sixth to provide the margin of victory.
This is more of what the Rainiers had in mind when Catricala hit .313 with a pair of home runs during spring training with the Mariners.
His .349 combined average between High Desert and Jackson got him voted the Mariners’ minor league player of the year last summer.
The Rainiers spread around 10 hits, with left fielder Johan Limonta adding a single and a double.
Three of Colorado Springs’ hits came off reliever Shawn Kelley in the eighth.
Rainiers slugger Carlos Peguero sat out a second consecutive game with a tender knee.
“We’re getting some things evaluated and we’ll have a better idea in a day or two,” Brown said.
A crowd of 2,242 was on hand as the Rainiers improved to 3-2. The Sky Sox slipped to 2-3.
Tacoma meets Colorado Springs tonight at 7:05 at Cheney Stadium. Right-hander Matt Fox (0-1, 3.00 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Rainiers against Colorado Springs left-hander Christian Friedrich (0-1, 7.20).
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440