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A ticket to the Pacific Coast League Championship Series came down to one game Sunday.
Daric Barton cranked a three-run homer in the fifth inning as Sacramento rallied past Salt Lake, 4-2, in the decisive Game 5 of the league's first-round playoffs at Raley Field.
With the River Cats (3-2) trailing in the fifth, 2-0, Gregorio Petit lined a leadoff single, Nick Blasi delivered a two-out base hit and Lou Merloni followed with an RBI single. Barton then drilled his league-leading fourth postseason homer over the right-field wall.
Barton went 2-for-3 and is batting a league-best .550 with 10 RBIs in the playoffs.
"He's one of our top prospects, and he's showing why," manager Tony DeFrancesco said.
After dropping the first two games and facing elimination, Sacramento came back to win three straight to advance to the PCL Championship Series for the first time since taking the crown in 2004. DeFrancesco also led the team to the title in 2003.
"It is very difficult to do that," the skipper said of winning three in a row. "These guys were resilient."
Danny Putnam had five RBIs and two homers, including a three-run walk-off shot in the 10th inning Saturday to force Game 5. The River Cats posted 13 roundtrippers in the series.
"That was like we won the championship right there," DeFrancesco said.
Sacramento reliever Shawn Kohn (1-0) allowed three hits over four scoreless innings, and Jerry Blevins tossed a perfect ninth to notch his first save after yielding a hit and fanning six over three frames.
"Our bullpen was solid," DeFrancesco said.
Starter Bobby Cramer gave up two runs on three hits and four walks with four strikeouts over two frames.
"Unfortunately, he didn't have his good stuff early," the skipper said. "We had to make sure we had a chance to keep us in the game."
Terry Evans smacked a two-RBI double in the first to give the Bees (2-3) an early lead.
Salt Lake starter Nick Green (0-1) suffered the loss after surrendering four runs on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts over seven frames.
Sacramento travels to New Orleans to begin the best-of-5 championship series Tuesday.
Marissa Rega is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.