Sacramento put the game away early with a five-run outburst in the third inning. Facing Richmond right-hander Blaine Boyer, Sacramento managed only two hits and no runs through the first two innings. However, the River Cats' offense took off in the third inning versus Boyer. Ninth-place hitter Danny Putnam drew a walk on a full-count after working back from an 0-2 count. He moved to third when lead-off batter Nick Blasi stung an opposite field single to right with Putnam on the move.
Sacramento jumped on the board with the next hitter, veteran Lou Merloni, who was named team captain for the game. Looking to drive-in Putnam with a sacrifice fly, Merloni did that and more, driving a high homerun over the wall in left-field to give Sacramento a 3-0 lead and the momentum. Jorge Piedra followed with a single and after a Jeremy Brown force-out, Brant Colamarino all-but put the game out of reach with a line-drive, opposite-field two-run homer.
Armed with a 5-0 lead, Kazuhito Tadano went to work mowing down the R-Braves' hitters. Tadano came into the game with two-outs and one-on in the second inning when River Cats' starter Shane Komine was forced to leave the game with a tight right shoulder. Komine returned to the dugout later in the game and appeared to be moving comfortably. Tadano was outstanding in relief of Komine. The Japanese native worked 4.1 brisk innings, allowing only one run. He struck-out four and walked none. Tadano threw 63 pitches on the night, 41 for strikes.
Sacramento added another run in the sixth inning. Putnam again was the instigator, walking with one-out. He stole second with Blasi at the plate and then came around to score on a Merloni single to deep short. Putnam scored just ahead of Brent Lillibridge's throw home with a textbook feet-first slide. The River Cats would add one more run in the top of the ninth when Colamarino singled on a pop-fly to short left to score Piedra.
Julio Manon relieved Tadano with runners on the corners and none-out in the seventh inning. He induced a 4-6-3 double-play off of the bat of 2006 River Cat Doug Clark. That double-play scored the Braves' only run, but also quieted their only real rally of the night. Manon worked two scoreless innings in total, allowing only one hit. Sacramento veteran Ron Flores worked a perfect ninth to close out the River Cats' title win.
Merloni was crowned the MVP of the game based on his 2-4 effort with that three-run homer and four RBI. He also made two nice defensive plays at third. Colamarino had a big night for Sacramento, as well. The first baseman had three hits, scored three runs and had three RBI. He also made a spectacular sliding catch of a pop-up in foul territory just in front of the tarps.
The River Cats finished the season with seven consecutive playoff wins.
Sacramento Captures Triple-A Title
Oakland Clubhouse Top Stories
A's acquire Schrock for RzepczynskiThe Oakland A's pulled off an August trade, dealing impending free agent Marc Rzepczynski to the Washington Nationals for second base prospect Max Schrock.
Oakland Clubhouse8:35 AM
Oakland A's MLN: Two A-ball All-StarsTwo Oakland A's prospects landed on post-season All-Star lists, the Nashville Sounds inched closer to the playoffs and other news and notes from around the Oakland A's system.
Oakland ClubhouseYesterday at 8:47 PM
Q&A with Oakland A's 11th-rnd pick Eli WhiteOakland A's 2016 11th-round pick Eli White has had an All-Star professional debut season. Donald Moore spoke with the Clemson alum about his first season in professional baseball.
Oakland ClubhouseTuesday at 9:16 AM
Stockton Notebook: Season winding downThe Stockton Ports are in the final stretch of their 2016 season, and their playoff chances are dwindling. We check-in on the Oakland A's High-A affiliate.
Oakland ClubhouseMonday at 3:54 PM
Jared Lyons a relief for BeloitBURLINGTON, IA - Left-hander Jared Lyons had a rough professional debut in 2015, but he has rebounded in a significant way in 2016. The reliever is ending his first full…
Oakland ClubhouseMonday at 11:10 AM