The big leaguers weren’t the only ones conducting their All-Star Game this week.
On Tuesday, the Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano led the American League over the National League 2-1 with a solo home run in the 10th inning.
On Wednesday, one level down the Pacific Coast League rode a three-run home run by Nashville Sounds infielder Renato Nunez to beat the International League 6-4 in the 30th annual Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Field in Tacoma.
The game featured a pair of Seattle Mariners minor leaguers, first base Dan Vogelbach and reliever Jean Machi, and Spokane native and Ferris High alum Andrew Kittredge, a right-handed swingman with the Durham Bulls in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Kittredge, 27, pitched two-thirds of an inning in the game, allowing two hits but no runs with one strikeout. Kittredge is 5-1 with a 1.93 ERA and one save in 29 games – with two starts – for Durham.
Kittredge, who played two seasons for the Washington Huskies, was traded by the Mariners to the Rays’ organization along with RHP Dylan Thompson and 1B Dalton Kelly in exchange for infielder Taylor Motter and minor league outfielder Richie Shaffer. The M’s designated Shaffer for assignment when they acquired reliever James Pazos and he was eventually picked up by the Indians organization.
Shaffer also appeared in the All-Star Game representing the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland). Shaffer went 2 for 3 with a home run and a double with two RBIs.
Nunez, the Triple-A home run leader, was named the All-Star Game MVP.
“With runners in scoring position, you always need to be able to hit,” Nunez said via press release. “I was thinking left field, he threw me a changeup, and I was ready to hit it.”
The contest featured four home runs, eight extra-base knocks, and 21 total hits combined between both rosters filled with exciting prospects.
Those prospects included the Rainiers’ Vogelbach, one of the Mariners top minor league players. Vogelbach went 0 for 1 in the game as a replacement for starter Garrett Cooper of Colorado Springs (Milwaukee).
Vogelbach participated in the Triple-A Home Run Derby on Tuesday, finishing second to Pawtucket (Boston) outfielder Bryce Brentz.
“This was fun, I really enjoyed being a part of this,” Vogelbach said of the derby via press release. “The fans are what it’s all about, especially in our hometown and on our home field.”
Vogelbach, 24, is hitting .280/.376/.430 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs in 76 games with Tacoma this season. He has played seven games with the Mariners, going 3 for 17 with one RBI.
Also chosen to represent the host Rainiers was MLB veteran reliever Jean Machi, who is closing games for Tacoma. He is 2-3 with a 2.56 ERA and 10 saves for the Rainiers. Machi, 35, has also appeared in five games for the Mariners this season, going 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 7 2/3 innings.
Machi pitched one inning on Wednesday, allowing two runs – one earned – on three hits, including Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay) shortstop Willie Adames’ solo homer, with two strikeouts.
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