The game began with three frustrating innings. Each team had multiple opportunities, but each team came up with just 1 run. For the Blaze, Billy Hamilton led off the game with a bunt single off Dodgers rehab assignee Blake Hawksworth, stole second, moved to third on a strikeout, and scored on a grounder. On the home side of the ledger, the Quakes came up with their run in the 2nd inning on 3 singles and a walk, but left the bases loaded.
The game took a turn in the 4th inning. After Blaze starter Jamie Walczak left the contest, Chris Joyce (L, 1-3) entered from the pen, and showed some rust in his first appearance since coming off the disabled list. A double, a walk, a fielding error and a bases loaded walk gave the Quakes the lead at 2-1, and Rancho's catcher Chris O'Brien followed with a bases-clearing triple to put the Quakes on top 5-1, and they never looked back. Rancho added 2 more in that 6-run 4th inning, and 1 more in the 5th, and though the Blaze put 2 runners on base in 6 of the final 7 innings, they could muster just 1 additional run.
The 6 runs allowed in the 4th was the season-high for a single inning this year against Bakersfield, and the 14 runners left on base was 1 off the Blaze's high mark of 2012. Also of note, Billy Hamilton left the game in the 5th inning with an apparent right leg injury. Check the Bakersfield Blaze twitter feed or tomorrow's broadcast for more info on Hamilton and the team.
The win tonight goes to Brandon Martinez (W, 2-1), who followed Blake Hawksworth with 4 shutout innings of work. For the Quakes, Steve Smith, Jordan Roberts and Scott McGough finished the game, and on the Blaze half, Daniel Wolford gave up a run in 1.2 frames, and Justice French, Kyle McMyne and Brooks Pinckard each handled their business with an inning of scoreless relief.
The series continues Saturday at 7:05pm with the 3rd game of the 4-game set. The Blaze will hand the ball to Daniel Renken, and the Quakes will counter with Andres Santiago.
Tune in to the broadcast LIVE, as Dan Besbris calls all the action at 6:55pm. The game will be carried on radio at SmartTalk 1230-AM, the home of the Blaze Game of the Week, and online at BakersfieldBlaze.com.