Rainiers beat Express in the walk-in Grand Slam for the second time this season

As baseball fans, we can watch many games without seeing a grand slam. These are rare feats, very exciting finishes for a game that only happen once in a blue moon.

Last night at Cheney Stadium, Tacoma’s Drew Ellis lined up a game-winning grand slam down center left with a late-ninth-inning out, capping a five-run rally and giving Tacoma a 7-6 victory over the Round Rock Express. . Hey, I have an idea, let’s look at it again!

It was the seventh time since 2000 that Tacoma won a grand slam final. Two of them have come this season – the first time it’s happened twice in a year – and surprisingly, both times were against the Round Rock Express.

That’s right: Tacoma has only faced Round Rock five times this season, and two of the games the Rainiers have won at Grand Slams. Alex Blandino did it to them on June 10, in the late night game that was delayed due to Round Rock travel issues.

Maybe you attended one of the other games that ended in salami? Here is the complete list since the beginning of the century:

  • September 21, 2022 – Drew Ellis vs. Round Rock vs. RHP Nick Snyder, for a 7-6 win (one out)
  • June 10, 2022 – Alex Blandino vs. Round Rock vs. RHP Demarcus Evans for a 6-4 win (7 inning match due to travel delay)
  • June 24, 2019 – Chris Mariscal vs. El Paso vs. RHP Trevor Megill, for a 7-4 win in the tenth inning (two out)
  • August 9, 2014 – Stefen Romero v Fresno v RHP Erik Cordier, for a 13-10 win (one out)
  • August 17, 2013 – Carlos Peguero vs. Colorado Springs vs. RHP Logan Kensing, for a 5-3 win (one out)
  • May 2, 2007 – Wladimir Balentien vs. Colorado Springs vs. LHP Mike Gallo, for a 6-3 win (two outs)
  • Aug 20, 2004 – AJ Zapp v Fresno v RHP David Aardsma, for an 11-7 win (one out)

The most memorable for me is that of AJ Zapp. He finished a game with nine RBIs for him, which is the most anyone has had in a game during my tenure and is considered the franchise record (we don’t have full records of that type of thing dating back to 1960, unfortunately). The affable Aardsma was a touted SF Giants prospect at the time; years later, he played for Tacoma at the end of his career and soon informed his new teammates of the time he had cleared a grand slam at that park.

We haven’t had an Ultimate Grand Slam in this century, although last night was very close. For an Ultimate Grand Slam, there must be two outs in the inning and the team must be three points behind. In other words, you’re down to your last out and only a grand slam can win the game. In the list above, you can see Ellis is the first to perform with the team trailing three points, giving Tacoma a one-point victory.

I wish I had a list of every Grand Slam tournament dating back to 1960 – there are probably a dozen more. Longtime Rainiers employee Kevin Kalal remembers Orsino Hill (father of current Rainiers outfielder Derek Hill) hitting one for the Tacoma Tigers against Calgary in 1992, but my internet search didn’t came up with nothing (an hour spent searching The News Tribune archives in the Northwest room of the downtown Tacoma library would probably run an article on that one).

Last night’s slam was apparently conjured from nothing. Tacoma trailed 6-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, and it definitely looked like a missed loss, try to bounce back tomorrow. Six batters later, it’s party time.

As the late Joaquin Andujar once said, “The one thing I know about baseball is you never know.”


YESTERDAY: Tacoma scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and stunned Round Rock Wednesday night, 7-6. Trailing 6-2 late in the ninth, Cade Marlowe started the inning with his first Triple-A home runs. The Rainiers then loaded the bases with an exit, and Drew Ellis threw a grand slam to give the Rainiers a 7-6 victory. Tacoma found itself tied with Las Vegas for second place in the division.

TODAY: Round Rock Express (76-67) to Tacoma Rainiers (69-74), 7:05 a.m.



SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 3-2.

PITCHERS: HPR Cole Win (9-7, 6.31) at LHP Tommy Milone (3-1, 2.55)

LIST MOVEMENTS: Yesterday the Mariners called the outfielder Jarred Kelenicand optional Taylor Trammel back to Tacoma. The team also announced the catcher’s call-up Louis Torrenswho was on Tacoma’s roster but was actually traveling with the Mariners on the cab team.

HOT HITTER: Mason McCoy has a four-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in 24 of his last 25 games… Jonathan Villar hit five homers and drove in 12 runs during an 11-game hitting streak… Marcus Wilson hit safely in five straight games… forest wall is 11 for 32 in his last eight games… Drew Ellis has a five-game hitting streak.

OPPONENT NEWS: Round Rock has faded during the streak, losing seven of the last nine games … former Rainiers and Mariners outfielder james jones is now a relief pitcher with Round Rock… a native of Seattle Josh Sale (Bishop Blanchet High School) and Federal Way’s Nick Tanielu (Federal Way High School, Washington State University) are with infielder Express… Ezequiel Duran and starting pitcher Cole Win are the most decorated prospects on the Round Rock roster… Elier Hernandez has a seven-game hitting streak.

BROADCAST: All games will be stream for free on a live audio stream which is available here.

Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station broadcasting the games at present.

PCL DASHBOARD: Follow all league matches in real time with links to broadcasts and Gameday screens here.


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