Tacoma Rainiers

Brugman homers twice, but Rainiers lose to River Cats

Get to know the Tacoma Rainiers

The Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. They play at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.
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The Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. They play at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.

Tacoma lost its Saturday night matchup 8-4 to Sacramento to drop the three-game series against the River Cats.

Right fielder Jaycob Brugman went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs to go along with a diving catch in the top of the fourth inning, but it wasn’t enough for the Rainiers, who fell four games below .500 and five games back in the division.

Brugman first homer of the night was a towering fly ball over the fence in right field to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the second. His second came on a line drive to right-center to lead off the bottom of the sixth.

“I thought he swung the bat well,” manager Daren Brown said.

The outing gives Brugman 11 home runs in Tacoma this season; it’s the second time in his career that he’s reached double-digits in a year for one team.

In his first action since March 29, Hunter Strickland threw 15 pitches in a scoreless inning. He walked one and forced three flyouts, with his fastball topping out at 98 miles per hour.

“I thought it was coming out good,” Brown said. “That was a good first time out.”

Mac Williamson also made his Rainiers debut, going 1-for-4 as the designated hitter.

Ryan Garton threw a scoreless seventh but allowed the first three batters in the eighth to reach, loading the bases before getting pulled in favor of Aaron Northcraft. All three runs ended up coming in on a pair of groundouts and a passed ball, and Sacramento had its insurance.

Nabil Crismatt took the loss, allowing five runs in five innings.

The Rainiers will wrap up their 11-game homestand with a Sunday matinee against the River Cats. Mike Wright is scheduled to open, then give the ball to Andrew Moore.

A Giant reunion

When Hunter Strickland first came into the Rainiers clubhouse Saturday afternoon, the first face he saw was an old teammate — just not from Seattle.

“I walked in today and Kelby (Tomlinson) said, ‘It’s like the Giants in 2016,’” Strickland said.

Last season, Tomlinson and Strickland were both in San Francisco playing for the Giants. So was Mac Williamson, who was added to the Rainiers roster Saturday after being designated for assignment by the Mariners earlier in the week.

Oh yeah, and the Rainiers are hosting Sacramento, San Francisco’s Triple-A affiliate. So add Chris Shaw, Dereck Rodriguez, Steven Ockert, Steven Duggar, Abiatal Avelino, and Ray Black to the list of 2018 Giants suiting up to play at Cheney Stadium on Saturday evening.

“I’ve got a lot of my close friends that I played with for six, seven years,” Tomlinson said. “A lot of guys I’ve known for a long time. It’s always good to see them.”

Strickland made his major league debut in 2014, earning a World Series ring in his rookie season. Tomlinson and Williamson were both called up in 2015, spending parts of four years in San Francisco.

“It’s good to see both of them as well,” Tomlinson said. “I played a lot of years with those guys. It’s good to see familiar faces.”

Strickland, who pitched 2.1 innings in three outings for the Mariners in March, is back for his first action after missing nearly four months with a strained lat. He’s slated to throw an inning Saturday with a soft limit around 20 pitches, take Sunday off, and travel to Reno with the Rainiers for their series against the Aces that begins Tuesday. According to manager Daren Brown, the plan for Strickland is simple:

“Throw today, hope everything feels good tomorrow, and we’ll go from there.”

Fraley day-to-day

Jake Fraley was out of the lineup for the second straight game Saturday, though Brown said he was available off the bench.

Brown said the outfielder, who is hitting .264 in 21 Triple-A games, is day-to-day with a hand injury.

“Anytime you get around an off day, if I can give him and extra day, it’s like getting three days off but not missing three games,” Brown said. “He may miss this series, but then the extra day is four days, and he should be good to go in Reno.”