San Bernardino, CA - A bullet onto the right field lawn off of Abel Baker's bat in the 8th inning Monday night put the Inland Empire 66ers (40-35, 3-2) into the lead for good, and helped the team win its eighth game in 10 tries against their arch rivals the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (31-44, 0-5).
The 66ers were looking to bounce back after back-to-back lackluster offensive performances at home, and hoping to find themselves at minimum in the ball game with Brandon Efferson getting the nod as a spot starter for the team. They got more than a passable effort from the right hander who more thrived than survived in six innings on the mound. Efferson allowed just one run on six hits, and notched career strikeout 100 over the course of the outing.
Offensively the 66ers scored first Monday, getting a mini two out rally in the 1st inning when Alex Yarbrough singled and ran right through a stop sign but still slapping the back of the plate safely ahead of the Quakes tag on Michael Snyder's double to right field. The 66ers had several chances to take the lead but left runner s on the bases in each of the first six innings of the game, including the bases loaded in the 4th.
The pitching staff did its part Monday with Eric Cendejas picking up right where Efferson left off. The right hander made his 29th appearance of the season and 83rd of his 66ers career, tied for fifth in team history with Mike Steele (2003-2005). Cendejas was brilliant once again, retiring all six Quakes he faced in his two innings on the mound, and lowering his Inland Empire career ERA to 2.77 which if he qualified for the franchise career ERA mark (and he is 1 1/3 innings from doing so) would be tied for 8th, ahead of major league veteran and Inland Empire alumni Ted Lilly.
With the tie kept safely intact at 1-1, Michael Snyder led off the bottom of the 8th with his third hit of the game. Pinch runner Trevor Hairgrove came in and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt before scoring on the Baker single. Baker would score on a double by Zach Wright to give the 66ers some added cushion which ended up being unnecessary because Mike Morin retired the Quakes in order in the 9th for his 12th save of the year and to cement Cendejas fifth win of 2013.
The 66ers will try for their ninth win in 11 tries this year against the Quakes on Tuesday at San Manuel Stadium. It will be a VWC Builders Turn Back the Clock $2 Tuesday with special prices on tickets, parking and food. For information on 66ers tickets or to schedule your next fun filled group outing, contact the 66ers front office at (909)888-9922.