If Major League Baseball is looking to pick up the pace of play, it should consider hiring a team of scientists to clone Colorado Springs starting pitcher Brent Suter.
Working at a rapid rate not seen in these parts since Rusty Meacham graced the Pacific Coast League in the late 1990s, Suter quick-pitched his way through seven strong innings and his Sky Sox beat the Rainiers on Wednesday night, 9-4.
Suter (2-0) barely wasted a moment between pitches. As soon as he received the ball back from catcher Juan Centeno, he was into his motion with the next delivery.
“It was throwing our timing off,” said Tacoma hitting coach Cory Snyder, who acted as manager after Pat Listach was ejected. “Our guys kept trying to call time with the umpire, but he wouldn’t give it to them, so they had to keep stepping in and stepping out. A lot of guys came in the dugout and said they got rushed.”
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Suter allowed six hits and four runs through seven innings. That’s not a bad result at high-elevation Security Service Field, which sits roughly 6,500 feet above sea level.
It was Suter’s third Triple-A start, and his first at home for Colorado Springs.
Tacoma did manage two home runs, with John Hicks and Jabari Blash each hitting solo shots. Blash’s homer was his 13th in 33 games since the All-Star break.
Rainiers starting pitcher Adrian Sampson (1-3) was charged with eight runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings. Sampson’s day ended early in the fourth inning when he was ejected by home plate umpire Alex Ortiz, presumably for arguing about balls and strikes after Domingo Santana hit a two-run double. Listach was tossed at the same time.
Sampson’s defense let him down in the third inning. Second baseman Shawn O’Malley and shortstop Chris Taylor each made errors, leading to a pair of unearned runs as the Sky Sox took a 5-2 lead.
“We didn’t look like we were ready to play today,” Snyder said. “We came out flat and just kind of stayed that way all game.”
Reliever Rob Rasmussen made his Tacoma debut after being optioned by Seattle on Monday. He pitched a perfect eighth inning.
The Rainiers and Sky Sox meet again at 5:35 p.m. (PDT) Thursday. Tacoma starts Chien-Ming Wang (2-3, 5.14 ERA) against Colorado Springs’ Hiram Burgos (2-2, 3.28).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.