Late Pitching Woes Lead To One-Run Losses

The top three teams in the Mariner farm system all lost by one run on Monday, and all gave up the winning run in the ninth inning. The AquaSox got a much needed win, though, behind the bats of Nate Tenbrink and Dennis Raben. Also, the Frogs were the victims of one of the strangest sequences you'll ever hear about. Read on to get all the details on last night's action.

Salt Lake 3, Tacoma 2


For the second straight day, the Rainiers blew a ninth inning lead and lost. This time it was Jared Wells who gave up the lead. Shawn Garrett had given Tacoma a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth on his fifth homer of the year, but Wells couldn't hold on in the bottom of the inning. Sean White had one of his best outings of the season, going eight innings and allowing just one run on seven hits. His no-decision breaks a string of seven losses in seven starts. White is sort of a AAA version of Carlos Silva, in that he gives up a ton of hits and has a very low strikeout rate (3.7 per 9 IP, compared to Silva's 3.6). And because he walks a few more batters than Silva, his peripherals are actually worse overall, and that's at the AAA level. I wouldn't say there are any compelling reasons to think he'd be a viable option going forward for the Mariners.

Montgomery 4, West Tenn 3


Nick Hill's wild pitch scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning as the Diamond Jaxx lost yet again, 4-3 to Montgomery. The first-half divisional champs are now just 6-14 in the second half of the season. The Jaxx had scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game. Craig James allowed a baserunner in the ninth, then Hill followed it by walking the next three batters (including the wild pitch) before getting a groundout to end the inning. Ryan Ketchner went 6 2/3 in the start, allowing three runs on nine hits. It was his best start since he gave up no runs in 7+ innings on June 17th. Ketchner's ERA stands at 4.44 overall, but is over five in every month but May. Like Sean White, Ketchner gives up a lot of hits (122 in 97.1 IP) and doesn't strike many people out (58). But Ketchner's ground ball rate is only about 42%, which will not translate well as he moves up. And for a left-hander, he doesn't do particularly well against lefty batters. In fact, they hit better (.336) than righties (.303) off of him. Marshall Hubbard homered last night, his first since returning from injury last week. Hubbard was perhaps the best overall hitter on the Diamond Jaxx roster when he went down with an oblique strain in mid-May. He'll be called on to carry much of the offensive load for the rest of the season.

Inland Empire 6, High Desert 5


Continuing a trend, the Mavs gave up the winning run in the ninth inning as the 66ers swept the four-game series in San Bernardino. Anthony Varvaro escaped with only four runs allowed (three earned) on 10 hits in five innings. He kept the Mavs in the game, and High Desert rallied to tie in the sixth on a two-run triple by James McOwen and an RBI single by Korey Feiner. McOwen drove in three runs on the night, including another game-tying hit in the eighth inning. Aaron Cotter, who has had some recent troubles, gave up a ground-rule double to lead off the ninth that came around to score on a two-out single to end the game.

Wisconsin's game with Beloit was suspended after two innings on Monday night, with the Rattlers leading 2-1. Joe Dunigan continued a hot streak with an RBI triple in the second inning. Dunigan then scored on a wild pitch. After the third out of the second inning was recorded, heavy rains and wind caused the game to be stopped. The statistics count, and the game will be resumed in the top of the third inning on July 26th as part of a doubleheader. The regularly scheduled game that night will be a seven-inning game.

Everett 5, Yakima 3


Dennis Raben had another perfect night, but was overshadowed by Nate Tenbrink's performance on Monday as the AquaSox beat the Bears. Tenbrink was 2-for-2 with a homer, a double, two walks, and three runs scored. Raben was a ho-hum 2-for-2 with a double, two RBI, and two walks. Raben is now 10-for-12 with an .882 OBP and 1.500 slugging percentage in four games with the Frogs. Brett Lorin had a solid outing for Everett: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K.

Lorin's two unearned runs came on one of the most unusual sequences you'll ever see in a baseball game. Yakima's Colin Cowgill struck out in the third inning --- and scored on the play. The whole thing started when Lorin got Cowgill to swing at a third strike in the dirt. The ball bounded away from Travis Howell, who had time to throw Cowgill out at first. But, Howell's throw to first evaded Manelik Pimentel and sailed into right field. The ball then got past Raben, who was backing up the play in right field. By the time Raben tracked the ball down in the corner, Cowgill (and David Cooper, who had been on second base) came all the way around to score easily. Two errors (to Howell and Raben) and a wild pitch were credited on the play.

Pulaski had the day off to travel to Johnson City, where they kick off a three-game series tonight.

AZL Athletics 8, AZL Mariners 6


The A's came back from a 6-3, eighth-inning deficit to beat the Mariners on Monday. Robert Rodriguez hit his first homer for the M's. Fray Martinez had the best outing of the five pitchers used by the M's, going four innings and striking out five, while giving up five hits and two runs.

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