Published: May 31, 2013
Sky Sox fans never got an up-close look at Wilin Rosario, as the power-hitting catcher skipped Triple-A in his rise to Coors Field.
For the past few days, this city has seen a reasonable facsimile to Rosario in Mike Zunino.
The top-rated prospect in Seattle's system homered twice Friday, including the go-ahead blast in the top of the ninth that sent the Rainiers to a 6-5 victory and their third win in the four-game series between the front-runners in the Pacific Coast League's Pacific North Division.
Zunino hit three home runs and drove in five games in the series, and he didn't even play in Tacoma's 25-6 victory Wednesday.
He has 11 home runs and 41 RBIs this season.
Zunino is hardly an overnight success. He hit 47 home runs and led Florida to three consecutive trips to the College World Series, winning the Golden Spikes award in 2012 as the nation's top player and then going to the Mariners with the third pick in last year's draft.
While his batting average is still a middling .237 (Rosario hit .249 in his final minor league season at the Double-A level), his overall trajectory should put him in Seattle in short order. "Baseball America" compared him to Jason Varitek in projecting middle-of-the-order talent with All-Star potential.
Zunino was the necessary difference Friday night, as Tacoma increased its lead to 1+ games. His two home runs were part of a 13-hit attack.
The Sky Sox drew a pair of walks in the bottom of the ninth but couldn't get the big hit needed to produce their seventh walk-off victory of the season.
Drew Pomeranz didn't figure into the decision after an up-and-down start.
The lefty looked great at times, struck out eight and carried a 5-2 lead into the sixth inning. But his high pitch count - a recurring issue - caught up to him when he gave up back-to-back home runs to start the sixth and was replaced one batter later after throwing 105 pitches in those 5 ? innings.
Pomeranz has largely had a successful first two months of the season, amassing a 6-1 record with a 4.26 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 56 innings. But his inability to work deep into games might give the Rockies pause as they continue to evaluate their options. Pomeranz pitched into the seventh inning just once in his past 10 starts - though he's worked at least five innings each time.
Josh Rutledge went 3-for-5 for the Sky Sox as he completed his first homestand since being demoted from the Rockies. Tyler Colvin hit a two-run home run and Corey Dickerson hit his 11th triple of the season - widening his lead in the category at all levels of professional baseball.
The Sky Sox leave for Salt Lake, where they play four games before going to Reno for four. They return to town June 10 against Salt Lake.
The Friday night fireworks were preceded by a postgame on-field marriage proposal from Sky Sox promotions director Jon Eddy to his longtime girlfriend, Holly Peterson. She said yes.