Fourteen runs on 15 hits? Three-run doubles and homers with two outs? An eight-run inning?
The Tacoma Rainiers hitters were certainly ready for Opening Day.
Tacoma blasted Oklahoma City in the 2023 Pacific Coast League opener on Friday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 14-8.
All nine players in the starting lineup reached base. Eight of the nine had at least one hit, eight of them had at least one RBI, and eight different players scored at least one run.
Tacoma’s three Triple-A rookies all contributed to the offensive attack. Jake Scheiner had two hits including a homer, a rocket to left field that left his bat at 109 mph. Zach DeLoach hit two long doubles and scored two runs. Jose Caballero reached base four times, and started the season’s scoring with a two-out, three-run double in the second inning.
Veteran Colin Moran connected on a three-run homer with two outs in the third inning, part of a performance that saw him reach base four times and score three runs. Fellow major league veteran Delino DeShields hit three singles, drove in a run, and scored another.
Returning shortstop Mason McCoy found himself hitting leadoff, so he did what leadoff hitters do: he hit three singles and drew a walk, scored a run and drove in a pair.
Starting pitcher Darren McCaughan earned the win, going five innings and allowing four runs. The game was close when he left – it was a 6-4 Tacoma lead – and then the seventh inning came along.
The Rainiers scored eight runs in the top of the seventh, sending 14 batters to the plate. Remarkably, the first nine batters in the inning all reached base – the team batted around without making an out! This could hold up as the Rainiers biggest inning of the season for quite some time.
Hopefully the boys saved some runs for the rest of the season. Game two is today at 5:05 (Pacific).
The Mariners are already active with the transactions, acquiring two players with plenty of major league experience yesterday, and assigning them to Tacoma.
Infielder Cesar Hernandez was inked to a minor league contract, and is expected to join the team this week in Tacoma. Hernandez has been a starting second baseman in the majors since 2015, including last season with the Washington Nationals, and he has played in nearly 1200 MLB games, collecting 1144 career hits.
Then the Mariners traded cash considerations to the Reds for Nick Solak, and optioned him to Tacoma. We’ve seen Solak play against the Rainiers as a member of the Round Rock Express; he’s played parts of four seasons in the majors with the Texas Rangers. Solak is a career .293 hitter with an .880 OPS at the Triple-A level.
Hernandez is a second baseman; Solak plays corner outfield and a little second. It will be interesting to see how new skipper John Russell weaves all these experienced players into the lineup.
YESTERDAY: Tacoma’s bats were waiting for the start of the season, and they exploded for 14 runs on 15 hits (and nine walks) in a 14-8 opening night victory at Oklahoma City.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (1-0) at Oklahoma City Dodgers (0-1), 5:05 (Pacific).
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Los Angeles Dodgers.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Travis Barbary.
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 1-0.
PITCHERS: RHP Easton McGee (0-0, 0.00) at RHP Matt Andriese (0-0, 0.00)
McGee, a member of the Mariners 40-man roster, makes his organization debut today. He spent the 2022 season with the Durham Bulls of the International League. Andriese is a veteran who is back in the states after spending last year in Japan; he had a brief stint with the Mariners in 2021 pitching in eight games from the bullpen. This is going to be Andriese’s first PCL game since 2013 with the Tucson Padres.
ROSTER MOVES: Nick Solak has been added to the Tacoma roster, although I’m not sure if he’ll be present for tonight’s game. Outfielder Cade Marlowe was officially placed on the Rainiers seven-day injured list – he strained an oblique early in spring training camp and shouldn’t be out for too much longer.
HOT HITTERS: Pretty much everyone after that opening day fiesta!
OPPONENT NEWS: Oklahoma City had a really good season last year, but with no payoff: they went 84-66 and lost the division by one game to El Paso… Luke Williams and Hunter Feduccia hit three-run homers in the season opener last night… the top hitting prospect on the Oklahoma City roster is infielder Michael Busch, who lost a LA Dodgers spring training position battle to Miguel Vargas… Oklahoma City has two former Rainiers: reliever Tayler Scott, and catcher David Freitas.
BROADCAST: All games will be broadcast free on a live audio stream which is available right here.
Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station carrying the games at this time.
PCL SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to broadcasts and Gameday screens right here.
- After an impressive opening day win, the Mariners dropped the second game of the season to Cleveland, 9-4.
- Like every team, the Mariners plan to steal more bases this year because of the new rules limiting pickoff throws.
- In the PCL, Reno opened at home for the first time since 2018 and celebrated by winning a 13-9 slugfest over Las Vegas. Cody Thomas of Vegas hit for the cycle in a losing effort.
- El Paso hammered Sugar Land in front of a standing room only crowd.
- Nolan Jones homered twice to lead Albuquerque to a road win at Round Rock.
- Salt Lake’s home opener against Sacramento got snowed out, they are going to try to play two today.
- Great feature story on El Paso Chihuahuas broadcaster (and author) Tim Haggerty.