Tacoma Rainiers

Albuquerque benefits from Kickham’s wildness, beats Tacoma, 5-3

Nobody on any pitching staff wants to be known as the king of free passes.

But right now, left-hander Mike Kickham is handing out his fair share of walks for the Tacoma Rainiers early in the Pacific Coast League season.

Kickham issued five more walks, bringing his total to 17 in three games.

And Albuquerque took advantage of his wildness in grabbing a 5-3 victory Wednesday night in front of 2,099 at Cheney Stadium.

The Rainiers have lost five of their past six games, all on this opening homestand.

Kickham, who was acquired by the Mariners in a trade with the Chicago Cubs for right-hander Lars Huijer last January, never made it out of third inning. He left after 85 pitches — 45 for strikes — with two outs in the inning.

“He’s having a hard time repeating his delivery, that is pretty much it,” Rainiers pitching coach Jaime Navarro said. “We’ll work, step by step, to get him back to his routine and get him going.”

Kickham walked leadoff batter Brandon Barnes, who came around to score on Kyle Parker’s two-run home run over the left-field wall in the first inning.

In the third inning, Cristhian Adames and Ben Paulson both got on via the walk, and scored on Dustin Garneau’s two-run double to left for a 4-1 Isotopes lead.

Of those 17 baserunners in three games, seven have come around to score.

Tacoma’s bullpen was outstanding, led by Justin Germano’s four-plus innings of one-run ball. Lucas Luetge threw one shutout inning as well.

Jesus Montero hit a solo home run in the second inning for the Rainiers — and had a chance to give Tacoma a lead in the eighth with the bases loaded, trailing 5-3.

Montero swung at the first fastball from reliever Simon Castro, flying out to center field.

Tacoma put the tying runs on in the ninth inning, but Isotopes closer Jairo Diaz got John Baker to fly out to deep left field, struck out Jabari Blash and ended the game on Chris Taylor’s groundout to third.


Signed earlier in the day, Carlos Quentin was already in a Rainiers uniform — No. 30 — taking batting practice before the game Wednesday.

The Rainiers now have six outfielders — one could be moved when the team officially adds him to the roster — but Quentin, 31, could also see time at first base, which he played in Spring Training with San Diego.

Quentin will also slot at designated hitter. He spent nine seasons in the major leagues with Arizona, the Chicago White Sox and San Diego — hitting 154 career home runs while holding a .347 on-base percentage.

Quentin has an opt-out clause for May 12 if he has not been added to the major-league roster.

“He is here for his bat — obviously,” Tacoma manager Pat Listach said. “He is not here for his defense.”


Outfielder James Jones (head) has had a concussion before. This one hurt much worse.

Jones, the leadoff hitter, slid headfirst into El Paso third baseman Brett Wallace during the Rainiers’ home opener Friday. He left the game woozy, and was placed on the seven-day disabled list the next day.

He said he suffered “a lot more headaches” this time around, adding he did not feel like himself over the weekend.

“I feel better now,” Jones said. “I am not as dazed as I was a few days ago.”

Jones’ pre-game activity Wednesday was limited to the stationary bicycle.


The Rainiers and the Isotopes will play the third-game of the four-game series at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. Tacoma will send left-hander Mike Montgomery (0-1, 6.23 ERA) against Albuquerque left-hander Chris Rusin (1-0, 9.00 ERA). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442