James Paxton made his second rehab start for the Tacoma Rainiers on Friday and he was pleased with the result.
The Rainiers beat the Sounds, 8-3, as the left-hander allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in three innings. He threw 62 pitches, including 39 for strikes.
“I thought I kept the ball down pretty good,” Paxton said. “They came out swinging and they were just putting the ball in play and fouling balls off.”
In his first rehab start on Aug. 23, Paxton didn’t make it out of the first inning while being held to just 35 pitches. On Friday, he struggled again in the first inning, but settled down after that.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
He last pitched for the Mariners on May 28 against Cleveland, pitching five innings before exiting with discomfort in his finger.
On Friday, after getting a quick out in the first inning, Paxton walked Joey Wendel, gave up a ground-rule double and then a two-run single, but right fielder Jabari Blash threw out Jason Pridie at second on the play. And after another fly out, Paxton escaped more trouble.
He gave up a two-out single in the second, but was otherwise strong that inning. He did run into more trouble in the third allowing a double, walk and an RBI single.
“I felt great, I didn’t get tired at all and my body felt strong,” Paxton said. “I was able to get into my rhythm a bit and make some good pitches.
“It was better than last time. I was able to get out of the first inning, and just focused on going after guys.”
Paxton is expected to make a third rehab start in five days and is slated to throw 75 to 80 pitches Rainiers manager Pat Listach said.
Sam Gaviglio replaced Paxton in the fourth inning and earned the victory, while pitching 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Gaviglio (8-7), gave up just three hits while striking out one and walking one.
The Rainiers rallied thanks to a five-run inning, powered by back-to-back home runs by Jabari Blash and Patrick Kivlehan, who hit two homers Thursday.
Before the back-to-back jacks, the Rainiers scored twice, including when Shawn O’Malley stole home. The Richland native, who homered twice Thursday, had the rare steal when Sounds catcher Carson Blair threw to second to try and get lead runner James Jones.
The Rainiers tacked on three more runs during the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. First baseman Ji-Man Choi, Blash and Jones collected the RBIs.
In his first game back with the Rainiers since July 10, Jones went 2 for 5 with two RBIs and a steal. ... Kivlehan extended his hitting streak to nine games after going 1 for 4 with a home run. ... Left fielder Stefen Romero hit his 37th double of the season, which ties him for the eighth most doubles in a season by a Rainiers player
The Rainiers and Sounds will face off againSaturday. The Rainiers will start right-hander Adrian Sampson (2-3, 6.91 ERA) and he will square off against righty starter Zach Neal (7-9, 3.94 ERA).