Not long after injuries forced the Mariners to dip into Tacoma’s stock of healthy pitchers, the Rainiers’ rotation caught some misfortune.
Two starters, right-handers Brad Mills and Jonathan Aro, were moved to the disabled list before Friday’s game. Aro exited Thursday’s game in the ninth after pitching two-thirds of an inning.
Meanwhile, the Rainiers disposed of the Las Vegas 51s, 9-1, on Friday, something that hadn’t happened in seven of the nine previous times the teams faced each other this season.
“Definitely pleased with the performance today,” Rainiers manager Pat Listach said. “We’ll worry about (the injuries) tomorrow. It was a big blow to us.”
The Rainiers took a two-run lead in the first inning, fueled by newcomer Guillermo Heredia. Heredia hit a triple over Las Vegas center fielder Roger Bernadino, scoring Nori Aoki. Stefen Romero’s single sent Heredia home in the next at-bat.
While starter Cody Martin (7-5) kept Las Vegas scoreless, the Rainiers supplemented their lead with three runs in the third inning. Two walks and an error set up the scoring barrage.
Martin, who has pitched a scoreless seven innings in each of his past three starts, gave up five hits, no runs, two walks and had six strikeouts over seven innings.
“He was really good again for the third straight start,” Listach said. “You can’t ask for anything more from a pitcher.”
Rob Brantly, who was activated Friday after a five-game paternity leave, pushed the Rainiers’ lead to 6-0 by hitting the scoreboard with a solo home run in the sixth inning. Heredia hit an RBI double in the same inning.
Heredia finished with three hits, including a double and a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored in his second Triple-A outing.
“Intense,” Listach said about Heredia’s approach. “There’s a language barrier there, but his early work is intense, style of play is intense. … he’s hungry.”
Tacoma’s roster saw three additions and three subtractions Friday.
In addition to losing Aro and Mills, relief pitcher Casey Coleman opted out of his contract. Right-hander Andrew Kittredge was brought up from Double-A Jackson. Right-handeder Kevin Munson was signed to a minor league contract and will report to Tacoma on Saturday. Munson, 27, had a 24-game stint with Triple-A Reno in 2013, and played this season for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League, where he was 2-0 with a 3.09 ERA. Catcher Steve Baron was activated Friday after being transferred from Jackson.
Injured ace Felix Hernandez is scheduled to return to the Mariners rotation after the All-Star break, and his path could include a start for the Rainiers. He expects to make the first of two potential rehab starts on July 10 in Everett, and a second start in Tacoma on July 15.
Tacoma right-hander Donn Roach (3-3, 5.28 ERA) will start in place of Mills against Las Vegas lefty Sean Gilmartin (8-3, 4.48) at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in the third game of the four-game series. The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.