Mariners reliever Chris Ray was at the Fremont Brewing Company yesterday, helping brew a beer called Homefront IPA that will be sold at Safeco Field and around Seattle to raise money for the Operation Homefront organization that provides emergency financial assistance to the families of military personnel.
Kendall Jones of Washington Beer Blog wrote a good article about tagging along with Ray, who has been brewing his own beer at home since back in the minor leagues and plans to open a brewery in Virginia with his brother someday:
Talking with Chris, you immediately recognize that he’s serious about beer. He talks about the rhizomes they chose to grow their hops and the first year’s hop harvest. Albeit tight-lipped, he tells me about the company that is potentially going to build the brewhouse. We discuss Virginia’s archaic liquor laws and the obstacles those laws create for a small brewery. It is clear that he is very serious about opening a brewery. He’s not just some guy who likes IPA.
Ray told Jones that he sometimes brings his home brewed beer into the Mariners’ clubhouse, but “it’s pretty hard converting light beer drinkers.” For shame, Mariners. For shame.
Just one week after Taylor Cole and Felix Peña tossed a combined no-hitter against Seattle, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake worked on his own perfect game through eight innings against the Angels.
It was an ambitious form of revenge, and one that Leake served up perfectly as he held the Angels scoreless in frame after frame. He sprinkled a handful of strikeouts throughout the first eight innings, catching Matt Thaiss on a called strike three in the third and getting two whiffs — called strikeouts against both Brian Goodwin and Shohei Ohtani — in the fourth.
The Mariners, meanwhile, put up a good fight against the Angels, backing Leake’s attempt with 10 runs — their first double-digit total since a 13-3 rout of the Orioles on June 23. Daniel Vogelbach led things off in the fourth with a three-run homer off of reliever Jaime Barria, then repeated the feat with another three-run shot off Barria in the fifth. Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford helped pad the lead as well with a two-RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.
In the ninth, with just three outs remaining, the Angels finally managed to break through. Luis Rengifo worked a 1-1 count against Leake, then returned an 85.3-m.p.h. changeup to right field for a base hit, dismantling the perfecto and the no-hitter in one fell swoop. Leake lost control of the ball following the hit, issuing four straight balls to Kevan Smith in the next at-bat and giving the Angels their first runner in scoring position. Still at a pitch count of just 90, however, he induced the next two outs in quick fashion and polished off the win with a triumphant eight-pitch strikeout against Mike Trout for the first one-hitter (and Maddux) of his career.
Had Leake successfully closed out the perfecto, it would’ve been the first of his decade-long career in the majors and the first the Mariners had seen since Félix Hernández’s perfect game against the Rays in August 2012. For their part, the Angels have yet to be on the losing end of a perfecto. The last time they were shut out in a no-hitter was 1999, at the hands of then-Twins pitcher Eric Milton.