Despite Ketel Marte going 0 for 5 on Tuesday, Rainiers manager Pat Listach insisted it would not take long for Marte to return to form.
Listach was dead on. On Wednesday, Marte went 2 for 4 with two doubles as Tacoma scored twice in the first and second innings and rolled to a 5-1 victory over Salt Lake at Cheney Stadium.
“Put up five runs in this ballpark and you should probably win the game, and we did just that,” Listach said.
Tacoma had 13 hits to Salt Lake’s four. Pitching “was good for nine (innings),” according Listach, led by Brad Mills (1-1). Mills pitched six innings, struck out five and allowed one run.
The Bees’ lone run came in the first inning on an RBI single over second base. In the bottom, Tacoma retaliated with two runs from a Daniel Robertson RBI double and an outfield error after a Mike Zunino single. Hot bats continued for the Rainiers in the second, when Chris Taylor hit a two-run single.
A Boog Powell sacrifice fly to right brought home recently re-acquired Patrick Kivlehan, cementing Tacoma’s lead at 5-1.
Kivlehan, who was optioned from Seattle on Tuesday, was 3 for 4 with a run scored in his first game back in the organization. He was traded to the Mariners by the Texas Rangers on Sunday, but spent the majority of his career in the Mariners’ system and most of the 2015 season with the Rainiers.
“When my agent called me and told me I was going back to the Mariners, I was a little shocked, but I was more excited than anything,” said Kivlehan, who had not played since May 21.
Kivlehan went to the Rangers as the player to be named in the November trade that brought outfielder Leonys Martin and right-hander Anthony Bass to Seattle.
Recent Los Angeles Angels acquisition Tim Lincecum is set to play in his first game in almost a year Thursday for Salt Lake against Tacoma’s Adrian Sampson (5-3). Lincecum, a Liberty High School and University of Washington graduate, returns to Cheney Stadium to pitch for the first time since 2007, when the right-hander was with the Fresno Grizzlies.
When asked about the prospect of facing a former two-time Cy Young Award-winner, Listach placed emphasis on “former.”
“He didn’t win it last year, or the year before,” Listach said. “I don’t know how far he’ll go in the game or what his pitch count will be, but it’s good to see a guy like that try to bounce back.”