Dinelson Lamet dominated the Tacoma Rainiers through the first five innings and the Chihuahuas offense jumped out to a big lead, making it seem that the Chihuahuas would cruise to victory.
But the bats went silent and Tacoma rallied against the bullpen, ultimately pulling out a 6-5 win in 10 innings.
Even in the loss, Lamet was the story of the night. The big righty recorded 13 strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work, not allowing his first ball out of the infield until a leadoff homer by Gordon Beckham in the sixth inning.
He struck out two in each of the first three innings, and then got the side in both the fourth and fifth innings. He showed one of the best sliders we’ve seen from him, and cruised with easy velocities in the mid-90s early in the game.
In the fourth, he struck out the heart of the Tacoma lineup on 14 pitches. He opened the fifth with his second walk of the night. Tyler Smith followed with a queue shot flare that landed on the edge of the outfield grass just soft enough that Carlos Asuaje could do nothing but pick it up and hold the ball for a single.
“After that first hit, I felt like I had to raise my intensity,” said Lamet. “I had to keep attacking like when it was 0-0.”
And attack he did. He got the following three hitters to strike out swinging, each flailing at fastballs that topped out at 98 according to several scouts’ guns behind the plate.
“He had his A stuff, and when he has his A stuff, you can see what he’s capable of doing,” said his manager, Rod Barajas.
When he’s on like he was tonight, it’s hard to remember that Lamet made his stateside debut barely two years ago. Then, he was struggling with some of the basics of the game. Today, he was in command from the moment he walked on the field.
“The strides he’s made from last year to this year have been outstanding,” said Barajas.
With the fastball/slider combination working so well, Lamet only mixed in six change-ups on the night. But given how poor the swings against his other two offerings were, it would have been hard to use it more. That offering, which is still developing, remains a bit firm. He was anywhere from 87-91 with it, but it did show enough armside movement to be a usable pitch alongside the other two.
“He throws it hard, but it’s effective,” said Barajas. “I faced plenty of pitchers who threw their change-up in the low 90s, and it was a good pitch.”
After Beckham broke up the no-hitter and shutout in the sixth, Lamet issues a walk and a single before giving way to Carlos Fisher. His velocity was down a bit in the later frames, but he still was sitting solidly around 92 and 93.
At the plate, Jamie Romak and Dusty Coleman, who was celebrating his 30th birthday, each had homers in the second inning, and the Chihuahuas tacked on two more runs in the third on line drive singles by Cory Spangenberg, who finished the night with three hits, and Jose Pirela. It was enough to chase Dillon Overton from his first PCL start of the year after he opened with the Mariners.
Rainiers’ righty Ryan Weber turned in an impressive relief appearance, working 5.2 innings of scoreless ball in which he allowed only two hits. His work helped ensure that only two more Chihuahuas made it to second base – and no further - on the night.