Tacoma Rainiers

Rainiers inch closer to title

Tug Hulett version 2.0 is proving to be a hit with the Tacoma Rainiers.

Hulett, who returned to the Rainiers on Aug. 16 after being signed to a minor-league deal by the Seattle Mariners, continued his torrid hitting pace, going 2-for-4 to help Tacoma end a four-game skid with a 3-1 victory over Portland in Pacific Coast League play at Cheney Stadium on Friday.

Hulett, who recorded five hits in Thursday’s 17-12 loss to Portland, is hitting .471 (16-for-34) with three homers and 10 RBI over his first 10 games since rejoining the Rainiers.

“It’s turning out to be a good fit coming back here,” Hulett said. “I knew the organization, I’ve played with a lot of these guys before and I’m familiar with the ballpark. It made for an easier transition coming back here, plus I get an opportunity to play a lot and I’m in the middle of a playoff chase.”

Hulett played in Tacoma for most of the 2008 season, hitting .298 before being called up by the Mariners late in the year. He spent 2009 in the Kansas City Royals organization and hit .209 in 86 games with Triple-A Pawtucket of the International League.

Hulett, however, isn’t the only one swinging a hot bat for the Rainiers as Matt Mangini is hitting .514 (18-of-35) over the final 11 games, going 2-for-4 with an RBI against the Beavers.

With the victory Tacoma (69-64) remains 2ß games ahead of Salt Lake City, a 9-4 winner over Colorado Springs, in the PCL Pacific North Division with 10 games remaining in the regular season.

Portland (54-80) had won six consecutive games overall and a franchise-record nine straight road games.

Ryan Feierabend (4-6), who had not won since July 21 and was 0-3 in his last five starts, came up with one of his strongest performances of the season, giving up one run on five hits in seven innings.

Scott Patterson took over from there and was equally effective, fanning two in a 1-2-3 eighth inning, before duplicating the feat in the ninth to register his fifth save.

Mangini broke up a scoreless tie with a run-scoring double in the bottom of the third inning.

The Rainiers added two more runs in the fifth, getting a Justin Smoak RBI double and a David Winfree sacrifice fly to push their lead to 3-1.


Tacoma continues its home series with Portland tonight at 7 p.m. Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-2, 6.04 ERA) gets the start for the Rainiers. The Beavers counter with Radhames Liz (8-8, 4.99). The game broadcast will be on 850-AM and at www.tacomarainiers.com  .