Bats aren’t hot enough for Godfrey
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Tacoma Rainiers took their newfound hitting prowess up against the top starting pitcher in the Pacific Coast League and fared pretty well – but not well enough to win.
Tacoma had nine hits and two runs against Sacramento ace Graham Godfrey, but the right-hander still earned a 5-2 win Friday night.
Godfrey improved to 6-0, and his earned-run average rose a whopping 16 points from 1.05 to 1.21. It was the second time in nine starts this season he allowed more than one run.
“He commands the baseball,” Tacoma manager Daren Brown said. “He uses both sides of the plate, he pitches up and pitches down … and doesn’t miss a whole lot.”
The Rainiers had 37 hits and batted .327 in the previous three games – all wins – and they continued to hit well Friday.
Mike Wilson and Vinnie Catricala hit back-to-back doubles in the second inning, tying the game, 1-1. Both doubles were misplayed by left fielder Anthony Recker – a catcher by trade who is getting his first taste of the outfield.
Sacramento’s Brandon Hicks launched a two-run homer off Tacoma starter Jeff Marquez in the bottom of the second inning, giving the River Cats a 3-1 lead.
Wilson clubbed a solo homer to left in the fourth, making it 3-2. Wilson has homered in three consecutive games, including two homers Wednesday.
Marquez (4-8) allowed two more runs in the fifth inning and left the game trailing 5-2.
Steven Hensley was a bright spot for the Rainiers, delivering three scoreless innings from the bullpen in his Triple-A debut. Hensley did not allow a hit and walked one, retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced while striking out three.
“He came right at hitters, threw strikes with all of his pitches, and he was able to throw any pitch at any time,” Brown said. “He gave us a chance to get back in it.”
The Rainiers threatened in the top of the eighth, loading the bases with two outs for Catricala. Sacramento reliever Rich Thompson replaced Godfrey and struck out Catricala looking.
Before the game, Sacramento slugger Manny Ramirez requested and received his release from the A’s organization. Ramirez, 40, ranks 14th on the all-time major league home run list with 555. … Outfielder Darren Ford made his season debut for Tacoma, going 2-for-4. Ford broke a finger April 5 and had been on the disabled list until Thursday.
Blake Beavan makes his 2012 Tacoma debut when the Rainiers face Sacramento today at 7:05 p.m. The River Cats are scheduled to start Bruce Billings (4-1, 2.94).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers