Down on the Farm: Pennant Fever

The season winds down and the contenders become pretenders. One team has fallen out of the race, while two others stay in.

Rainiers Win and Lose on Same Night:
There is good news and bad news. The Tacoma Rainiers defeated the Tucson Sidewinders 8-2 on Friday night, behind solid inning from right-hander Gustavo Martinez, and a twelve-hit attack that put up a four-spot in the second inning. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the victory went for not when the Portland Beavers scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth versus Sacramento at PGE Park. The win clinched the PCL Northern Division title for the Beavers, and officially eliminated the Rainiers from playoff contention.

Martinez (6-7, 4.89) allowed five hits and two unearned runs and picked up his sixth victory with the Rainiers, despite walking five. The 28-year-old struck out five on the night and finished his 2004 season with a strong outing.

Greg Jacobs (.316, 9HR, 29RBI) had three hits while Mickey Lopez (.286, 10HR, 41RBI) and Jeremy Reed (.304, 5HR, 36RBI) added two apiece to pace the Rainiers.

Reed's fifth home run with Tacoma came after a costly error by the Sidewinders. The two-run shot off of Mike Gosling capped the four-run inning and proved to be plenty for Martinez and the bullpen.

Right-hander Jared Hoerman (5-1, 5.07) went the final three, allowing only one hit, to pick up his first save as a Rainier.

Missions Take Express-way to Must-win Weekend:
Starter Phil Devey couldn't hold a 5-4 lead as the Missions fell hard to first-place Round Rock, 13-6. The loss drops the Missions two games behind the Express and forces a must-in situation over the weekend.

Devey was spotted a 5-4 lead after three innings, immediately loaded the bases without recording an out in the top of the fourth.

Jared Thomas relieved Devey and yielded a sacrifice-fly, a run-scoring single, and a three-run home run to create a 9-5 hole for the Missions.

Hunter Brown (.284, 52RBI) had four hits and homered for the third time in four games and Shin-soo Choo (.311, 14HR, 80RBI) added three hits of his own to keep the Missions in the game.

John Lindsey (.283, 19HR, 70RBI) and T.J. Bohn (.265, 7HR, 29RBI) added two hits each and Jamie Bubela (.230, 15RBI) hit his second home run of the year to round out the offensive attack.

San Antonio must win the final two games of the season to earn a postseason berth.

Outfielder B.J. Garbe grounded out to shortstop in his first at-bat since being acquired from the Minnesota Twins for catcher Pat Borders.

Empire Win in Preparation For Playoffs:
The Sixty-sixers beat the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 6-1 Friday night, behind the strong start by right-hander John Huber and the bats of Jesus Guzman and Jon Nelson.

Huber (4-1, 6.12) went six innings and allowed one run on five hits, while striking out seven. Left-hander Cesar Jimenez (6-6, 2.24) went three innings, allowing just one hit and whiffing three to earn his sixth save of the year.

Guzman (.305, 5HR, 67RBI) and Nelson (.304, 17HR, 92RBI) each had two hits and two RBI to lead the bat barrage.

Snyder Helps Sox Stay Alive:
The Everett AquaSox stayed alive in the division race with a clutch 8-1 win over Salem Keizer, behind the stellar pitching of right-hander Jason Snyder.

Snyder (2-2, 2.24) went seven strong innings, allowing one run on just two hits while striking out eight. The 21-year-old walked one and left the game to the bullpen with a 3-1 lead.

Marshall Hubbard (.271, 24RBI) went 4-for-4 with two RBI to lead the way at the plate, while Brandon Green (.272, 51RBI) and Asdrubal Cabrera (.271, 40RBI) added two hits apiece.
br> The Sox scored two in the third and one in the sixth in support of Snyder, who picked up his second win of the year since being promoted to Everett.

Cibney Bello (4.09) and Mark Lowe (4.89) went an inning a piece to finish off the Volcanoes and preserve the Sox season for one more day.

Everett has two more games in Salem-Keizer while first-place Vancouver has three games remaining versus Eugene. Everett must win out, while getting help from Eugene to have any chance of the postseason. Right-hander Aaron Trolia takes the hill Saturday for Everett.

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