Tacoma Rainiers manager Pat Listach said that was the best he’s seen Sam Gaviglio pitch.
So maybe the Oregon State University alum should consider donning University of Washington purple and gold more often?
“No, not at all,” Gaviglio said. “We joked about cutting them up, all of us Oregon State guys.”
That move didn’t work out so well for recently suspended Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale.
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So, instead, Gaviglio and his fellow former Beavers — Daniel Robertson, Stefen Romero, Kraig Sitton and Tyler Smith —made sure to pose for photos before the game wearing Oregon State wristbands.
Despite the UW-themed jerseys, which were part of the Rainiers’ “Paint the Park Purple” promotion night, Gaviglio threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the Rainiers’ 2-1 win over the El Paso Chihuahuas on Friday night at Cheney Stadium.
Gaviglio said it was likely not the jersey, but because he pounded the strike zone with all three of his pitches: fastball, changeup, slider. He threw 84 pitches and allowed four hits in his longest outing since May 2015.
“He was in command from the first pitch,” Listach said. “He’s thrown the ball good when he’s been here. He’s very capable of doing what he did tonight.”
But even with the great performance, Gaviglio didn’t get the win.
That went to Charlie Furbush, who for the first time this season pitched in back-to-back games. Listach was going to use Furbush no matter what to further test the left-hander’s partially torn rotator cuff, which has kept him on the disabled list all season.
Furbush walked a batter, but got El Paso’s Auston Bousfield to ground into an inning-ending fielder’s choice in the eighth.
Furbush threw nine pitches (four strikes) after tossing a scoreless inning on Thursday.
“That was obviously the biggest test for me to overcome,” Furbush said. “I’m glad I’ve got to this point. As of right now, I’m feeling good about it. I just got to see how the next couple days play out.”
On offense, Patrick Kivlehan had the Rainiers’ first two hits of the game.
His second hit didn’t come until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Kivlehan hit a solo home run to center field. He also hit a double off the wall in almost the same spot in the fifth inning.
Kivlehan’s home run was his eighth of the year and it gave Tacoma a 1-0 lead.
Jesus Sucre followed with a single before Robertson lined a two-out double to left field to score him.
Gaviglio credited Sucre, who caught Seattle Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma’s no hitter last year, for his performance.
“Sucre did a (heck) of a job calling the game,” Gaviglio said. “It was all him. And that was the first time he caught me. He had a real good feel behind the plate and I was just able to throw all three pitches for strikes. That’s something I’ve really worked on is get strikes early in the count.”
Rainiers reliever Blake Parker earned his 19th save in 20 opportunities, lowering his ERA to 2.56 — though he allowed a run on a sacrifice fly. … Mariners reliever David Rollins was optioned to Tacoma to make room on the Mariners’ 25-man roster for outfielder Guillermo Heredia.
The Rainiers open their four-game home series against the Albuquerque Isotopes at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma will send former Gonzaga University right-hander Cody Martin (9-6, 3.95 ERA) to the mound to go against Albuquerque right-hander Shane Carle (4-8, 6.02).
The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677