TUCSON, Ariz. – Teams that are 21 games under .500 aren’t supposed to come back from eight-run deficits and win baseball games. But that is exactly what happened on Monday night at Kino Stadium.
Trailing 8-0 after five innings following a disastrous rehabilitation start by Mariners pitcher Erasmo Ramirez, Tacoma scored nine runs in the sixth and went on to beat the Tucson Padres, 11-8.
The nine-run inning was Tacoma’s biggest of the year – easily topping a six-run frame against Fresno on June 30.
It started when Luis Rodriguez singled to right field against Tucson starter Matt Palmer, who entered the sixth working on a two-hit shutout.
With one out, Luis Jimenez and Alex Liddi singled to load the bases. Mike Wilson singled and Carlos Triunfel was hit by a pitch, making it 8-2.
Guillermo Quiroz connected for the first big hit of the inning, a three-run double off the right-field fence that made it 8-5 and sent Palmer to the showers.
Reliever Jason Ray struck out Scott Savastano for the second out, and he appeared to end the inning when Darren Ford grounded to first. However, the ball popped out of Tucson first baseman Vince Belnome’s glove for an error. Ford was safe, and Quiroz scored to make it 8-6.
After a Rodriguez walk, Justin Smoak lined a sharp single to right, bringing in another run to make it 8-7 and leave runners at first and third.
Jimenez then hit the first pitch from new pitcher Nick Vincent to the right-field corner for a long single. When right fielder Jeremy Hermida had trouble picking up the ball, Smoak scored to give Tacoma a 9-8 lead.
Ramirez allowed eight runs on nine hits, including two home runs by Tucson clean-up hitter Matt Clark.
Tacoma’s bullpen was spectacular, combining to pitch 52/3 shutout innings.
Brian Sweeney (5-3) earned the win with two scoreless frames, and the nine-run inning occurred while he was in the game.
Carter Capps made his Triple-A debut, retiring all four batters he faced. Capps struck out three of the four, while showing the power fastball that makes him one of the Mariners’ top bullpen prospects.
Infielder Nick Franklin missed the game with left knee soreness. He left the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader in the fifth inning after “tweaking” it trying to make a spinning throw. Brown aid Franklin felt better Monday and is not expected to go on the disabled list.
The final game of the year between Tacoma and Tucson is tonight at 7:05. Tacoma starts D.J. Mitchell (0-1, 1.80 ERA) against Tucson’s Colt Hynes (5-8, 6.05).Mike Curto is radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.