Another strong outing from Blake Beavan almost went unnoticed, even after he helped the Tacoma Rainiers defeat the Las Vegas 51s, 4-1, at Cheney Stadium on Wednesday.
Beavan allowed just one run for the second straight start to earn his second win since being demoted from the Seattle Mariners on June 13.
But he wasn’t part of the conversation about pitchers Wednesday. Even a nearly 50-year-old minor league pitcher sitting on Las Vegas’ bench was getting more attention.
The focus was on Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, starting against the Boston Red Sox today, and phenom Danny Hultzen, making his Cheney Stadium debut today against franchise icon Jamie Moyer.
As if Seattle Mariners fans weren’t already giddy to see Hultzen, the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft, the Toronto Blue Jays upped the intrigue ante when they signed Moyer, the 49-year-old former Seattle ace, to a minor league deal.
“I’m just looking forward to him (Hultzen) going out and doing what he does,” Rainiers manager Darren Brown said of Hultzen’s first home start. “His first start (on June 23) wasn’t what he wanted, but now he has the jitters out of the way, so I am expecting him to be pretty good.”
Hultzen was shaky in his first start for the Rainiers, allowing five runs and five walks in three innings in Colorado Springs.
Back to the Wednesday game, Luis Rodriguez put the Rainiers on the scoreboard with a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the second inning to tie Las Vegas at 1-all. He then put Tacoma ahead with an RBI single that scored Carlos Peguero in the fourth. Vinnie Catricala scored another run by stealing home.
In the fifth inning, Alex Liddi hit a double and scored the Rainiers’ final run on a single by Peguero.
Relievers Chance Ruffin and Bobby LaFromboise combined to pitch scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth before Scott Patterson closed it out in the ninth to earn his third save.
Carlos Truinfel was given the day off and Nick Franklin made his third consecutive start at shortstop after playing second in the three games since being called up from Double-A Jackson on June 20. … Trayvon Robinson missed Wednesday’s game with a leg injury suffered in the Rainiers’ win against Reno on June 21. Brown said Robinson remains day-to-day. … Former SuperSonics point guard Slick Watts threw out the opening pitch on “Bring Back the Sonics” night at Cheney Stadium.
Tacoma plays its second of three games against Las Vegas at 7:05 p.m. today when Hultzen (0-1, 15.00 ERA) makes his second Rainiers start, opposing Moyer (0-0, 0.00).