West Sacramento, Ca.---The Sacramento River Cats (76-62) used a two-run third inning to get past the Fresno Grizzlies (65-72) 2-1 on Tuesday night at Raley Field. With the win, Sacramento is now 2 1/2 games back of first place Las Vegas who lost at Colorado Springs in the Pacific Coast League's Pacific Southern Division. Sacramento has six games left while Las Vegas has seven remaining. But the 51s have the head-to-head tiebreaker if both teams should finish tied at the end of the regular season come Monday.
The River Cats used an RBI double by designated hitter Hiroyuki Nakajima, and later in the third an RBI single by left fielder Michael Choice to do all their scoring.
The Grizzlies only tally was courtesy of a two-out RBI double to right-center field by first baseman Chris Dominguez in the sixth. Fresno wasted a bases loaded one-out opportunity in the fourth inning, and then had runners at first, and second in the eighth inning with one out, and couldn't capitalize.
It was a tough-luck loss for Fresno right-handed starter Justin Fitzgerald (2-7). He struck out nine (his most as a Grizzlies player) over six innings. He gave up four hits, two runs (both earned), and he walked two.
Sacramento right-handed starter Travis Banwart (10-5) issued four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up one run (earned), he walked two, and fanned six. He's now 2-0 against Fresno this year. Right-hander Brian Gordon (21) earned the save for the River Cats with a perfect ninth inning.
Game three of this scheduled four-game series will be on Wednesday night at Raley Field. Right-hander Mitch Lively (7-5) will start for Fresno against Sacramento righty Arnold Leon (4-3). The first pitch will be at 7:05. The season-series is tied 7-7.
Fresno is 17-23 in one-run games
Center fielder Angel Pagan (left hamstring) was 0-4 in what was his fourth rehab game with Fresno. Second baseman Tony Abreu (left knee) was 2-3 with two doubles on his rehab assignment. Pagan played the entire game while Abreu departed after seven innings.