Tacoma Rainiers Win Triple-A West Championship
El Paso, TX - The Tacoma Rainiers (72-45) clinched the Triple-A West regular season championship on Saturday night at El Paso with a 7-3 victory, after un-tying a 3-3 game with four runs in the ninth inning. Tacoma's surge to the championship included seven consecutive wins to clinch, winning 12 of 13 and 18 of 21, and a 37-15 record during the season's second half (since July 22).
It's the Rainiers' first league title since their PCL Finals sweep (3-0) of the Memphis Redbirds in 2010. The 2021 Rainiers join past Tacoma Triple-A Pacific Coast League champions from 1961 (Giants), 1969 (Cubs), 1978 (Yankees, co-champions with Albuquerque), 2001 (Rainiers, co-champions with New Orleans) and 2010.
Tacoma opened the scoring in the opening inning, when Taylor Trammell drew a two-out walk, and scored a batter later when Kevin Padlo gapped a double to right field. The Rainiers repeated that exact scenario an inning later, when Dillon Thomas worked a two-out free pass in the second, and scored on a Marcus Wilson double.
A Patrick Kivlehan RBI groundout got El Paso on the board in the second. The Chihuahuas took the lead 3-2 in the third on a Jose Azocar run-scoring triple; Azocar then scored on a Taylor Kohlwey single.
Still trailing 3-2 in the seventh, the Rainiers got the equalizer when Thomas doubled to lead off, and Jack Reinheimer delivered a one-out RBI single.
El Paso starter Jesse Scholtens threw 107 pitches in 6.1 innings of work, logging a quality start (3 ER). Scholtens allowed four hits, walked four and struck out six. Tacoma right-hander Darren McCaughan matched Scholtens all night; throwing 92 pitches over 6.2 IP. He scattered six hits and did not walk a batter, striking out six as well. Only two of the three runs charged to McCaughan were earned, in a quality start.
With the game still tied 3-3 in the top of the ninth, Tacoma loaded the bases with one out on a Luis Liberato single, a Donovan Walton double and an intentional walk to Jantzen Witte. Trammell saved his first triple of 2021 for an opportune time, smoking a ball over everyone's head onto the warning track in left-center, bringing all runners home for a 6-3 lead on the championship-clinching hit. The Rainiers added on one more when Padlo singled home Trammell.
In the bottom of the ninth Brian Schlitter induced a pair of groundouts and ended the game on a line out to first baseman Sam Travis, delivering Tacoma their first title in 11 years.
The triumphant Rainiers will return to action on Sunday, with a 5:05 PT first pitch at El Paso. RHP Logan Verrett will take the mound, with whom Tacoma is 13-3 this season when he starts, against Chihuahuas RHP Adrian Martinez.
Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto will have full coverage on TacomaRainiers.com. All 2021 Rainiers games, home and away, can also be heard for free on the MiLB First Pitch app. HD video broadcasts of every home game can be viewed with an MiLB.TV subscription. (Use code: RAINIERS to save $10 on an annual subscription.
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Triple-A West League Stories from September 19, 2021
- Oklahoma City Earns Walk-Off Win over Round Rock - Round Rock Express
- McKinstry's Walk off Blast Wins it for Dodgers - Oklahoma City Dodgers
- Trio of home runs gives River Cats third straight win - Sacramento River Cats
- Isotopes Hold off Sugar Land - Albuquerque Isotopes
- Querecuto Scores Twice, Drives in Three RBIs in Birthday Win - Reno Aces
- Skeeters Nearly Complete Comeback in Afternoon Contest against Isotopes - Sugar Land Skeeters
- Aces Notes - Reno Aces
- OKC Dodgers Game Notes - September 19, 2021 - Oklahoma City Dodgers
- Tacoma Rainiers Win Triple-A West Championship - Tacoma Rainiers
- Mathisen, Tauchman slug River Cats to commanding win - Sacramento River Cats
- Tacoma Pulls away in the Ninth - El Paso Chihuahuas
- Aces Drive in 13 Runs in Win over Salt Lake - Reno Aces
- Express Tops Dodgers 8-5 in Saturday Night's Contest - Round Rock Express
- Round Rock Rallies past Dodgers in the Ninth - Oklahoma City Dodgers
- Skeeters Defeat Albuquerque to Win Fifth Straight - Sugar Land Skeeters
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