Bankston's Blast Powers Sacramento Over Portland
A back-and-forth game was won by the Sacramento River Cats in dramatic fashion on Thursday night, as Wes Bankston hit a three-run homer with two-outs in the top of the ninth to break a 7-7 tie. The River Cats would tack on two more runs before the end of the inning and go on to beat the Portland Beavers by a score of 12-7.
Sacramento played the game somewhat short-handed, as the River Cats lost Jeff Fiorentino and Eric Chavez earlier in the day thanks to roster moves. Fiorentino was designated for assignment when Chavez was activated by the Oakland A's earlier in the day. Fiorentino will have to clear waivers in order to return to the River Cats. Earlier this week, the River Cats also lost outfielder Danny Putnam, who was sent to Double-A Midland, and outfielder Chris Denorfia, whose minor-league rehab assignment was suspended when he began experiencing more back pain. With Chavez, Fiorentino and Denorfia gone, the River Cats had to use both catchers in the starting line-up: Justin Knoedler behind the plate and Landon Powell as the DH.
Despite those missing offensive contributors, the River Cats had a big evening at the plate on Thursday. Sacramento pounded out 12 runs on 12 hits and 10 walks. The River Cats also struck-out 14 times. First baseman Wes Bankston was the offensive player of the game for Sacramento. He had three hits and four RBIs, including that game-winning three-run, ninth-inning homer. The homer was his seventh of the year and he now has 27 RBIs.
Second baseman Kevin Melillo also homered for Sacramento. The solo homer was his fifth longball of the season. He scored two runs and reached base three times on the homer and two walks. Third baseman Jeff Baisley went 3-4, with two doubles, two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk. He is now batting .296 with an 871 OPS on the season and he is batting .316 in the month of May. Left-fielder Travis Buck had a triple, two RBIs and a walk, raising his average to .337 with Sacramento. Right-fielder Casey Rogowski had two RBIs, while Powell reached base three times with a hit and two walks.
Starter Brad Knox had an uneven performance. He lasted into the seventh inning, but he allowed five runs on nine hits and four walks. He was in-line for the win, however, until reliever Brad Kilby allowed two runs in relief of Knox in the seventh inning. Reliever Jay Marshall would come-on with one-on and two-outs in the eighth inning for Kilby. He would record the final four outs to earn the first win of his career at the Triple-A level. Marshall has yet to allow a run in 3.1 innings for Sacramento since being promoted from Double-A late last week.
Other News And Notes
- Catcher Anthony Recker homered, tripled and drove home three runs in Double-A Midland's 7-6 win over Northwest Arkansas. The homer was Recker's fourth of the season. He has posted a .329 average and a 985 OPS in the month of May and is now batting .288 with an 826 OPS for the season. Tom Everidge, Justin Sellers, Jesus Guzman and Aaron Cunningham each had two hits for Midland. Sellers and Cunningham each stole a base in the game. Midland has swiped 55 bags this season, one behind second-place Tulsa in the Texas League. The Rockhounds also threw-out three Northwest Arkansas runners trying to steal and picked-off another in the game. Vince Mazzaro allowed three earned runs (five total) in 6.2 innings in a no-decision. Justin Dowdy earned the win by allowing a run in one inning, while Andrew Carignan earned his fifth save for Midland with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
- The High-A Stockton Ports' offense was silent on Thursday, as the Ports fell to High Desert by a score of 4-1. Travis Banwart was hung with the loss by allowing two runs on two hits in four innings. He struck-out five and walked one in his best outing since joining the Ports. Banwart was lifted after only 60 pitches when he was throwing well, but it wasn't known immediately after the game if he was lifted due to injury or some other reason. Jared Lansford pitched well in relief once again, allowing one run in three innings. He struck-out five and didn't allow a walk. As a reliever this season, Lansford has struck-out 32 while walking only five in 26 innings.
- The Low-A Kane County Cougars lost a tough game on Thursday, falling to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers by a score of 2-1. Scott Mitchinson was brilliant for Kane County, but he was out-dueled by Seattle 2007 first-round pick Phillipe Aumont. Mitchinson allowed one unearned run on two hits and no walks in seven innings. He struck-out seven. The Australian lowered his ERA to 1.49, good for third in the Midwest League. The 23-year-old has an incredible 55:7 K:BB ratio on the season.
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