Tacoma Rainiers manager Daren Brown labeled Nick Franklin’s first eight games since being promoted from Double-A Jackson as “inconsistent.”
Franklin came into Saturday’s 9-1 victory against the Fresno Grizzlies at Cheney Stadium batting a subpar .206 with 14 strikeouts and one walk in 34 at-bats. Not the makeup of an organization’s shortstop of the future.
He has plenty of potential, though. He demonstrated it with one swing.
Franklin hit the ball hard Saturday, but none harder than a 1-1 pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh that sent the ball cruising over the wall in right-center field – his first career grand slam and first Triple-A home run.
“I don’t know what happened,” Franklin said. “I was looking for a pitch, and when I hit it, I knew I was squared up and I had a feeling it was gone.”
It capped a season-best six-run seventh inning for the Rainiers, who came in having lost five of the past six games.
Carlos Peguero kick-started the seventh with a first-pitch solo shot to left field – his second home run of the game.
“We know what kind of power Peguero has got, and it was good to see a night from him like tonight,” Brown said. “Then for Franklin to have that grand slam was great to see because he has been a little inconsistent since he got here. It was good to see him square that ball up.”
Added Franklin: “I have been working really hard, and it definitely has been a little mind game right now. The best I could do was get back at it, get in the cage, work my butt off and hope it pays off.”
Along with Franklin’s and Peguero’s efforts to put runs on the board, Andrew Carraway was more than enough to secure the victory. He allowed two hits in a dominant complete-game performance – the second of his career – and earned the win.
The Rainiers trailed briefly when Todd Linden sent a Carraway pitch off the Cheney Stadium scoreboard in right-center field to give Fresno a 1-0 lead.
Carraway rolled after that, retiring 23 of the next 24 batters. The Grizzlies’ lone hit in that sequence was Nick Noonan’s slow roller in the seventh that he barely beat out for an infield hit.
Carraway got plenty of help from the defense, especially the gloves of Alex Liddi at third base and Carlos Triunfel at short.
The Rainiers called up pitcher Steve Garrison from Double-A Jackson to fill a hole in the roster left by the departure of Steve Delabar, who was promoted to the Seattle Mariners on Friday. Garrison will start in the place of Jarrett Grube today.
Garrison (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start for the Rainiers. He faces Fresno’s Matt Yourkin (1-4, 9.22 ERA) in the second of a four-game series. First pitch is 1:35 p.m.