Bright spot in Rainiers’ latest loss
As Tacoma battles through a slump and the jetlag after an 11-games-in-12-days road trip, the Rainiers get a boost from the arrival of hard-throwing right-hander Stephen Pryor.
Pryor joining the Rainiers, however, wasn’t enough to keep Tacoma’s losing streak from reaching five games after a 4-2 loss to Albuquerque on Tuesday night to begin an eight-game homestand at Cheney Stadium.
Isotopes starter Will Savage continued his domination of the Pacific Coast League, winning his league-high sixth game after pitching six-plus strong innings of two-run ball.
And even though Tacoma catcher Guillermo Quiroz hit a home run in the seventh inning to account for both of the Rainiers’ runs, the highlight – and real cause for near-future optimism – was Pryor’s Triple-A debut.
The imposing 6-foot-4, 245-pound Tennessean, who came from Double-A Jackson (Tenn.) with a 1.13 earned-run average and a perfect 7-for-7 performance in save situations, was told Monday he had been promoted to Tacoma (11-21).
So, Pryor, his wife, Christian and two young daughters grabbed “five suitcases, a stroller and two car seats” and headed to the airport to catch a flight to Seattle.
The four of them met the team at Sea-Tac Airport on Monday night, and rode the charter bus back to Cheney Stadium.
“It’s happened quickly this year,” Pryor said. “I can’t complain. I am happy to be here.”
Tacoma manager Daren Brown said before the game that he wanted to try and get his newcomer one inning of work immediately, just to “get the butterflies out.”
And in trotted Pryor to start the eighth inning to face the middle of the Isotopes’ lineup.
His first pitch: The scoreboard read 95 mph.
And it got better. Two of his next three fastballs went by at 97 mph. He then struck out Scott Van Slyke on a change-up at 87 mph.
Pryor then stuck out Jeff Baisley, the next batter, on a 99 mph offering.
After that, Jerry Sands flew out weakly on the first pitch to center fielder Trayvon Robinson to end the inning.
Of his 10 pitches, eight were fastballs. He joins Sean Henn, Cesar Jimenez, Oliver Perez and Chance Ruffin in a bullpen of hard throwers.
At one point Tuesday, Savage induced 10 consecutive Rainiers outs on ground balls. … Tacoma starter Jeff Marquez picked off two Isotopes baserunners at first base, but also absorbed two sharp hits for singles off his body. … Infielder Leury Bonilla, who took a one-hopper off his neck Monday and was taken to a hospital in Reno, was available off the bench for the Rainiers on Tuesday. Brown said Bonilla’s neck still has some bruising. … Utility man Johan Limonta was not with the team Tuesday. He was in Florida taking his U.S. citizenship test, and returned just after midnight. The Cuba native is expected to be in uniform today.
Tacoma right-hander Forrest Snow (0-3, 7.58 ERA) will go for his first victory of the season today. Albuquerque will counter with right-hander Stephen Fife (3-2, 5.52). First pitch is at 11:35 a.m.