Monday, May 18, 2015

Tacoma Rainiers 4, Las Vegas 51s 0

Justin Germano pitched six innings of six-hit shutout ball, top Mariner prospect Ketel Marte hit his first home run of the season, and the Tacoma Rainiers blanked the Las Vegas 51s 4-0 Sunday in Tacoma.

Germano was fantastic in his six frames, never allowing a baserunner past second. He struck out six and did not walk a batter. A few balls were hit hard against him, particularly a leadoff double by Alex Castellanos in the fourth, but several of the six hits he allowed were seeing-eye grounders.

Justin Germano delivers a pitch against Las Vegas Sunday in
Tacoma. Germano pitched six shutout innings in the Rainers'
4-0 victory over the 51s. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.
Las Vegas' best chance for a rally came in the sixth, when T.J. Rivera and Matt Reynolds opened the inning with back-to-back singles, but they didn't move from first and second. Germano got Castellanos and Brandon Allen to fly out to shallow right, then fanned Travis Taijeron to end the inning and his day's work after 94 pitches. He improved his record to 3-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.46 over four starts and 10 total appearances.

Lucas Luetge pitched two perfect innings in relief and Mayckol Guaipe set down the 51s 1-2-3 in the ninth as the Rainiers retired the final 12 Las Vegas batters to come to the plate.

The Rainiers got all the runs they needed in the second when Patrick Kivlehan doubled with two out and, following a walk to Leon Landry, scored on a single by Shawn "Oh, really? No" O'Malley. Marte hit his first home run of the season, a line shot over the fence in right, with one out in the third. Tacoma tacked on two more in the seventh on only one hit, helped along by three walks and an error.

Marte, the Rainier shortstop, also walked and drove in a run on a groundout. He is batting .349 and has eight doubles and a triple to go with his home run and has stolen 13 bases in 16 tries. The 21-year-old switch hitter has some tools. We're anxious to see him called up, if only so the Mariners can open a new concession brand: Ketel Corn.

We were anxious to see the skinny version of Jesus Montero, who didn't play in the first game we attended at Tacoma last month. Montero was a feeble 0-for-4 Sunday with a whiff, a popup, and two groundouts, but is hitting .324 with four home runs on the campaign. He looks in great shape, though he's still the slowest runner we've seen since Edgar Martinez, or maybe even Alvin Davis.

O'Malley went 3-for-4 with a run, an RBI, and a steal, and was the only Rainier to log more than one hit.

Box score.