On his way to what appeared to be a successful rehabilitation outing for the Tacoma Rainiers, Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton ran into a problem: a blister.
Paxton was removed from Wednesday’s game in Salt Lake City after going to a 2-2 count on the leadoff hitter in the fourth inning. He wasn’t around to see the end of Tacoma’s 13-6 Pacific Coast League victory over the Salt Lake Bees.
“It was a blister, he had to come out of the game because it was bothering him a little bit,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said. “The good thing is it is not the same injury he had before.”
Paxton has been on the Mariners’ disabled list since the end of May with a sprained tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand.
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Until the blister became problematic, Paxton was throwing strikes and working economical innings. He allowed two runs on five hits in three innings, but all five hits were singles with most coming on ground balls. He did not walk a batter, and needed just 39 pitched to get through three innings.
Tacoma trailed 4-3 going to the sixth inning when the game took a wild turn.
Salt Lake starter Tyler DeLoach, who had not walked anyone in the first five innings, walked Chris Taylor to open the sixth. That was the first of nine walks issued by four Salt Lake pitchers over a three-inning span. Tacoma scored 10 runs during that time despite getting only five hits.
“We were patient, and they had a couple of pitchers who couldn’t find the zone,” Listach said. “We took our walks. James Jones had three walks, (Daniel) Paolini had two, and (Mike)Zunino got hit by a pitch.”
Jesus Montero singled in the tying run in the sixth, part of a 3 for 4, three-RBI performance in his return to Tacoma’s lineup.
The score was still tied when Ji-Man Choi batted with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. He drove a pitch from Alex Sanabia over the head of shallow-playing left fielder Daniel Robertson for a three-run double that gave Tacoma a 7-4 lead.
The Rainiers tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning when Patrick Kivlehan hit a two-out, two-run double off the fence in left-center field.
Four more runs scored for the Rainiers in the eighth inning, when Salt Lake pitchers distributed four more free passes.
Lucas Luetge worked 2 2/3 innings from the bullpen, allowing one run, to earn the win.
Outfielder Jabari Blash was out of the lineup with a sore right knee. He’s day to day. … Patrick Brady doubled in the eighth inning to extend his hitting streak to eight games.
The series concludes with a 6:05 p.m. (PDT) game Thursday. Tacoma starts Forrest Snow (10-8, 4.11 ERA) against Salt Lake’s Jo-Jo Reyes (3-4, 5.56).
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.