Nothing personal against the Texas Rangers organization, but third baseman Patrick Kivlehan likes his close buddies.
Drafted by Seattle in the fourth round of the 2012 amateur draft, Kivlehan regards professional lifelong teammates Dario Pizzano, Zach Shank and Tyler Smith like baseball brothers.
So when he was reacquired by the Mariners on May 29 and sent to Triple-A Tacoma, a big pail of relief washed over him.
“I know he was happy,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said.
And the man who hit 22 home runs for this team last season is at it again.
Kivlehan knocked two home runs out of Cheney Stadium, and Tacoma finished off a four-game sweep by hammering Colorado Springs, 7-3, on Sunday.
The Rainiers (53-40) have tied their longest winning streak of the season — six games — heading into another four-game series at Cheney, starting Monday against Oklahoma City.
Having hit multiple home runs in five of their past six games, they are on quite a power-hitting streak.
“We’ve got a good lineup,” said Kivlehan, who registered his first two-homer game since Aug. 27 against Nashville. “The good thing is if someone isn’t doing it, someone else is. We take turns.”
It was Kivlehan’s turn Sunday.
He capped a five-run first inning by taking Sky Sox starter Jorge Lopez deep for a two-run shot to the party deck in left field.
Three innings later, he jumped on the first pitch from Lopez and hammered it out to left center for a 6-0 Rainiers lead.
Listach saw this kind of production much of last season — and certainly welcomed Kivlehan back after he hit .184 in 36 games with Round Rock.
“Any time you get traded and play for a different organization, you try and do a little too much sometimes,” Listach said. “Since he’s been back, he’s been pretty good.”
If you think Kivlehan hitting his sixth home run in 30 games back is impressive, just look what D.J. Peterson is doing. He smashed his fifth home run in 15 games with a leadoff blast in the fifth.
Since the All-Star break, the Rainiers are hitting .310, and slugging at a .550 clip.
“We’re playing very good right now — all the way around, in all facets,” Listach said.
These two teams won’t see each other until next season in Colorado, and that might be a good thing.
Things got testy Sunday.
It started when Lopez hit Pizzano after Peterson’s home run in the fifth.
Pizzano and Lopez exchanged words. Home plate umpire Sean Ryan ejected Lopez, and then ran an irate Sky Sox manager Rick Sweet, a Longview native.
In the eighth, Tacoma reliever Emilio Pagan brushed back Josmil Pinto with an inside pitch — close enough that both dugouts emptied.
Players started chirping, but nothing got out of control. Pagan and Listach were ejected.
“We didn’t do anything,” Listach said. “All we did was hit home runs.”
Slugger Stefen Romero’s 12-game hitting streak was snapped Sunday. He went 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts. … Left fielder Nori Aoki and catcher Mike Zunino got the day off. … The Seahawks “12 Tour” stopped by Cheney Stadium, and rookie center Joey Hunt and former wide receiver Ricardo Lockette were in attendance. … The Rainiers drew 26,153 fans for Colorado Springs, the most this season for a four-game series. The Las Vegas series that included the popular July 3 fireworks show totaled 26,138 fans. … Tacoma players honored breast-cancer awareness by wearing pink jerseys Sunday.
Tacoma starts another four-game series at Cheney Stadium on Monday, this time with PCL American Northern-leading Oklahoma City. Right-hander Zach Lee (0-2, 7.58 ERA) goes for his first win with the Rainiers. Right-hander Trevor Oaks (2-0, 4.05) pitches for the Dodgers. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. All the action can be heard on 850-AM.