When Scott Steinmann agreed to manage the Seattle Mariners’ Single-A Clinton club this season, he thought he was in line for yet another anonymous minor league season.
Instead, his name has appeared in publications as wide-ranging as Sports Illustrated, the New York Post and ESPN.com after his LumberKings pulled off a miraculous 16-run comeback in a 20-17 victory over the Burlington Bees on Wednesday night.
That’s big-time stuff for Steinmann, an organizational soldier who prefers to carry a low profile. He has worked as a manager and coach in the Mariners’ system for 16 years, primarily at the short-season rookie level. Last season, Steinmann got a taste of the upper minors, serving as John Stearns’ bench coach with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.
Speaking from Clinton, Iowa, on Thursday afternoon, Steinmann was stunned by the developments of the previous evening.
“We were down, 17-1, and I ran out to the third base coach’s box, and I was thinking to myself that 6-4 on this 10-game road trip wasn’t too bad,” he said.
Clinton scored 19 unanswered runs and won the Midwest League game in the 12th inning. Marcus Littlewood’s tying grand slam in the top of the ninth sent the game into extra innings.
Steinmann credits a loose atmosphere among the players as a key ingredient in the comeback.
“These guys just have a good time,” Steinmann said. “They’re having fun — it’s like a party in the dugout, actually. They were down by 10 runs, and they were having a great time. These guys are a little off their rocker.”
Clinton’s comeback overshadowed the first Pacific Coast League no-hitter since 2009, which also happened Wednesday.
The Iowa Cubs won, 3-0, as left-hander Chris Rusin no-hit the New Orleans Zephyrs in front of an announced crowd of 10,770 in a morning kids-day game at Zephyr Field.
It was the first no-hitter pitched by the Iowa Cubs in almost 30 years. Reggie Patterson threw one Aug. 21, 1984. The last PCL no-hitter came Aug. 14, 2009, when Oklahoma City’s Luis Mendoza pitched one against Salt Lake.
The Mariners promoted infielder Patrick Kivlehan to Double-A Jackson from Advanced-A High Desert. The move came after Kivlehan, 24, batted .282 with nine homers and 35 RBIs in 34 games at High Desert.
Kivlehan is in his third professional season after being selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft.Staff writer Bob Dutton contributed to this report. Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.