The Rainiers went down swinging.
Sacramento’s Ty Blach fired a two-hit shutout, dealing the Rainiers a 2-0 loss in front of a sold-out Cheney Stadium on Wednesday. It was the sixth time Tacoma has been shut out this season.
“I think we beat ourselves today more than he beat us,” said Dan Vogelbach, who finished 0 for 3, “but I guess he threw well, you’ve got to tip your cap to him, good for him.”
Blach (13-7) struck out seven, walked two and allowed Tacoma to get into scoring position one time.
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“He located great and kept us off balance, and he pitched on a good day when the wind was blowing straight in,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said. “We hit a couple of balls that I thought were homers — they did too. He pitched really, really good, and we couldn’t muster up a rally. You’ve got to tip your cap sometimes.”
The Rainiers felt the ripple effect of the Mariners’ 15-inning game the night prior when projected starter Jarrett Grube was sent to Seattle, forcing Cody Martin into a start from the bullpen.
Martin (5-7), who was told he was starting around 2 a.m. Wednesday, rolled into the clubhouse an hour and a half before game time Wednesday morning, peered into Listach’s office and said, “Let’s do this.”
He gave up two runs in a five-inning start and had three strikeouts, while allowing six hits and no walks. Tacoma burned through five pitchers.
“That’s kind of the role I need to embrace,” Martin said. “Being able to throw out of the (bullpen) or start whenever. I think that’s going to be my role going forward in the big leagues or here.”
Martin has started 18 games for the Rainiers this season, so moving back from the bullpen was almost a seamless transition, he said.
“Physically, I felt good,” Martin said. “It was early, which is never really fun, but once I got going, I felt really good. I threw a lot of strikes. My conditioning from being a starter most of the year was definitely a plus.”
On the opposite side, Blach rolled — at the expense of Tacoma’s batters.
“He threw a bunch of strikes,” Vogelbach said, “flipped the ball, threw corner-to-corner and made his pitches when he needed to.”
The River Cats jumped up to a 2-0 lead while Blach threw four hitless innings to start.
With two outs in the third, Martin gave up back-to-back doubles to Gorkys Hernandez and Austin Slater. Hernandez scored on the latter to put Sacramento on the board. In the fourth inning, Federal Way native Travis Ishikawa hit a solo homer for the second run.
Outfielder Guillermo Heredia was optioned from Seattle to Tacoma in the wake of the Mariners’ 15-inning game that bled into Wednesday morning. Heredia hit .280/.379/.400 in 12 major league appearances. … Vogelbach is hitting .191 since being traded on July 20, but he has continued to get on base via walks. The career .286 hitter has walked in 15 of his 21 games, including four games with two walks. … Forrest Snow was optioned to Double-A Jackson on Wednesday. The right-hander was 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA in two starts with the Rainiers.
The Rainiers have Thursday off, then head to Memphis on Friday to face the Redbirds at 5:05 p.m. Taijuan Walker (0-0, 4.15) is projected to start for Tacoma, while Memphis’ starter has not been announced. The game can be heard on 850-AM.