Baker's Clutch Hit Keys River Cats' Win
Sacramento catcher John Baker's two-out, two-run pinch-hit double in the top of the 6th gave the River Cats a 4-3 lead in Game One of their PCL playoff series against the Tacoma Rainiers. Sacramento would never relinquish that lead and would go on to beat the Rainiers, 7-3.
The game began poorly for the River Cats. After scoring once in the top of the first, the River Cats watched as Tacoma jumped ahead with three runs against Sacramento starter Adam Johnson. Johnson would buckle down after the first inning and did not allow another run in his six full innings of work.
The River Cats trailed 3-1 going into the top of the sixth, when the Cats drew one run closer on a sacrifice fly by Andre Ethier. Baker was then called upon to pinch-hit for starting catcher Tom Gregorio, who was 0-2 in the game. Baker squared off against Jeff Heaverlo and lined a double into right-field to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs.
Sacramento would tack on three more insurance runs in the top of the 7th. Hiram Bocachica started the rally with a one-out double. He scored on a Bobby Smith single. After a Jack Cust double and a Shawn Garrett walk loaded the bases, Smith scored on a walk to Andrew Beattie. Ethier drove in his second run with a run-scoring ground-out. Ethier went 2-4 with two RBI. Smith had three hits and Cust and Bocachica each had two hits.
Relievers Britt Reames, Ron Flores and Jairo Garcia each worked a scoreless inning to close out the game. Flores is expected to leave the River Cats after tonight's game and join the A's on their road-trip. Garcia struck out two batters in his perfect ninth.
The River Cats will play one more time in Tacoma before returning home.
Big First Inning Propels Rockhounds To Series-Evening Win
Faced with an 0-1 disadvantage in their playoff series against San Antonio, the Midland Rockhounds wasted no time getting back on track in Game Two. The first eight hitters reached base and the Rockhounds scored five times to give Midland an advantage it would never relinquish. Midland would go on to add a run in the sixth on a homer by Kevin Melillo and they beat the Missions, 6-3.
Mark Kiger began the Midland attack with a lead-off single to start the bottom of the first. Daric Barton followed with a single, Brian Stavisky walked and Casey Myers singled to get the Rockhounds on the board. Danny Putnam added another single and the next three batters would reach via free passes (Jeremy Brown and Melillo walked and Francis Gomez was hit by a pitch) to give the Rockhounds their 5-0 advantage. Number nine hitter Steve Stanley was the only Rockhound not to reach base at least once in the inning.
Starter Mike Nannini allowed three runs in the fourth and was lifted with two-outs in favor of Matt Lynch. The one-time starter was excellent in his relief appearance, working 3.1 innings of shut-out baseball. He allowed only one hit and struck out three. Lynch would earn the win. Marcus Gwyn took over for Lynch in the 8th and was so dominant, he struck out four batters in the frame. Gwyn struck out all four batters he faced, but he threw a wild pitch on strike three to the second batter in the frame, allowing him to net the rare four-strikeout inning. Closer Alex Santos worked a scoreless ninth for the save. He struck out two. In total, Midland pitchers whiffed 13 Missions.
Melillo went 2-3 with a walk and two runs batted in. Putnam, Myers and Barton each had two hits to help pace the Rockhounds' offense.
Stockton Falls To Modesto In Game One
The Modesto Nuts jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and the Stockton Ports couldn't overcome the advantage, falling to Modesto by a score of 4-2. Starter Brad Knox was touched up for four runs on seven hits and a homerun in only four innings of work. Elvis Avendano, Justin Crowder and Jeff Muessig combined to shut the Nuts out over the final four frames, but the Ports couldn't muster enough offense to take the lead.
The Ports scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning when Vasili Spanos singled and Richie Robnett doubled to start the inning. Dustin Majewski singled to right to drive in Spanos and move Robnett to third. Travis Buck, up from Kane County, collected his first Cal League RBI with a run-scoring ground-out to short. The rally would die there and the Ports' offense went silent. Stockton will take on Modesto again tomorrow.
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