The Rainiers were winners of eight straight, the last two via walk-offs, but fell flat Wednesday night in the third matchup against Oklahoma City.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 2 prospect (per MLB.com), Jose De Leon, had struck out 19 in his last two starts, and he added 10 more Rainiers to that list as Tacoma lost, 7-0, to the Oklahoma City Dodgers at Cheney Stadium.
“Sometimes you just gotta tip your cap to the opposition,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said, “that guy threw a great game today.”
Tacoma starter Cody Martin got off to a slow start, and the Dodgers pounced.
The right-hander gave up three doubles and a two-run homer, putting the Dodgers up 3-0 in the first inning (the same number of runs that Martin gave up in his previous five starts).
Oklahoma City’s Will Venable doubled, scoring Micah Johnson. Austin Barnes followed with a two-run homer. Two batters later, Martin gave up another double to outfielder O’Koyea Dickson.
It was not the start Martin had envisioned.
“I just didn’t come out very sharp,” Martin said. “Stuff wasn’t the way it’s been the last two months. I’d say that was probably my worst stuff to start the game. … I’m happy that I battled through it.”
After a coach’s visit to the mound, Martin rebounded.
“After the first inning, he settled in,” Listach said. “(He) threw the ball really good two through five.”
Martin added three strikeouts and yielded no hits over the next two innings.
Meanwhile, De Leon fanned five batters in the first three innings. After Rob Brantly singled in the first inning, De Leon retired 13 straight batters.
“(De Leon) was pounding the strike zone, had some deception. We weren’t picking up his fastball very good ,and next thing you know we were in the eighth inning and we were down (7-0),” Listach said.
De Leon pitched eight scoreless innings, with the 10 strikeouts and no walks. He allowed four hits, all singles.
Martin allowed 10 hits, a season high for him, and five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Right-handed starter Jordan Pries was traded to the Chicago Cubs as a part of a four-player deal Wednesday. Pries, who started Tuesday, was drafted by the Mariners in 2011 and played for the Rainiers over the course of three seasons. In 2014, he was 9-8 with a 2.06 ERA.
Dan Vogelbach was acquired by Seattle as a part of the same trade and optioned to Tacoma. He hit .318 with 16 homers and 64 RBIs with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs this season. The 23-year-old will join the Rainiers on Friday in Salt Lake on the first game of their road trip and, according to Listach, will play a combination of first base and designated hitter.
Mike Zunino and Nori Aoki were recalled to Seattle after Tuesday’s game and were in the Mariners’ starting lineup Wednesday. Seattle, making room for Felix Hernandez’s return, then optioned Daniel Robertson, David Rollins and Jesus Sucre to Tacoma. Sucre was 1 for 8 (.125 average) in three starts with Seattle. In nine games with the Mariners, Robertson hit .263 with a .316 slugging percentage.
Rollins saw eight relief appearances and had five strikeouts and one win with a 4.05 ERA. “I think he showed that he’s durable, he can pitch every day and that he does throw strikes,” Listach said.
The Rainiers and Oklahoma City play Thursday for the last time this season. Right-hander Jarrett Grube (1-1, 4.62 ERA), who earned his first win of the season in his last start, will go against Dodgers lefty Ross Stripling (0-2, 3.78). The game time is at 7:05 p.m., and will be broadcast on 850-AM.