Kane County Advances; Sacramento One Win Away

Sacramento and Kane County recorded exciting, one-run victories on Friday night. The wins allowed the Cougars to move on to the second round of the playoffs and put the River Cats one win closer to advancing to the next round.<br><br> Find out the details of the games in this edition of <i>Minor League Notebook</i>...

Sacramento River Cats

The River Cats jumped out to an early 5-2 lead and held on to win the game 5-4, allowing them to take the 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five series. The River Cats will try to close out the series with a win tomorrow night in Portland.

Mike Edwards got the River Cats on the board early with a solo homerun to lead off the second inning. They upped their lead to 3-0 in the third inning when Dan Johnson crushed his second homer of the series, this time a two-run shot. Portland wiggled back into the game when they rallied for two runs off of starter and eventual winner Britt Reams, scoring on a two-RBI single by catcher Humberto Quintero in the bottom of the third. Mark Kiger took the momentum right back for the River Cats, however, when he struck for a two-run shot to leftfield in the top of the fourth.

Reams held the Beavers scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when he allowed a double and a single. However, with runners on the corners and no outs, Reams induced a double-play grounder. Lefty Ron Flores came in to retire Jake Gautreau and the Beavers' rally was limited to one run. Flores allowed a lead-off single in the bottom of the 7th inning and was lifted for Chris Mabeus. Mabeus was unable to record an out, however, as he allowed a single and a walk to load the bases with one out. Top relief prospect Jairo Garcia came in to relieve Mabeus and he immediately struck out Bernie Castro and popped up Quintero. Garcia wasn't able to close the Beavers out completely, however, as he walked Jon Knott to force in a run. Garcia bore down and retired Yamid Haad on a flyball to center and the River Cats were out of a dangerous inning with a 5-4 lead.

The River Cats' offense stalled the rest of the way, but the relief tandem of Garcia and Huston Street was enough to keep Sacramento ahead. Garcia retired the side in order in the 8th inning. Street came on in the 9th and allowed a two-out walk and a single before retiring Knott on a groundball to shortstop Mike Rouse to close out the game. In all, Garcia and Street combined to throw three innings where they allowed no runs, one hit, two walks and two strikeouts. Reams chipped in with five strikeouts, as the River Cats were able to limit the high scoring Beaver offense for the second straight night.

Sacramento plays Portland at 7:00 pm EST tomorrow night.

Kane County Cougars

Kane County clinched a first round playoff series victory with a 3-2 nail-biting victory over the Peoria Chiefs. The Midwest League's best pitching staff was out in force again on Friday night, as starter Dallas Braden combined with relievers Dan Fyvie, Justin Crowder and Jason Windsor to limit the Chiefs to two runs.

Kane County drew first blood in this elimination game, scoring two runs in the bottom of the third inning. The runs scored on a clutch, two-out double by second baseman Luke Appert, scoring Nick Rogers and Kory Wayment. Wayment had reached on a fielding error by third baseman Christopher Patrick.

The Chiefs tied the game when Joe Mather slammed a two-out, two-run homerun to leftfield in the top of the 5th inning. Kane County got off the matt quickly, however, as they regained the lead in the bottom of the 5th inning. With one out and a runner on first base, Appert walked and Vasili Spanos singled to load the bases. Danny Putnam worked a four-pitch walk to force in what would eventually be the winning run.

Braden worked a scoreless 6th and 7th and was lifted in the 8th for Fyvie. Fyvie retired the only runner he faced, striking out the dangerous Mather. Justin Crowder then took over and induced a fly-out and a strikeout that bracketed a two-out single. Jason Windsor came on in the 9th for the save and retired the side in order on strikeout, a fly-out and a pop out.

The Cougars will now move on to the Midwest League Western Division Championship Series. The series will begin on Saturday in Clinton, IA, as the Cougars will take on the Clinton Lumber Kings. Chris Dunwell will start the first game for the Cougars.

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