The Fresno Grizzlies (75-54) hammered the Sacramento River Cats (50-79) 15-1 Thursday night from Raley Field. With the victory and Reno's loss to Tacoma, Fresno trimmed their magic number to clinch the Pacific Northern Division to two. They also swept the River Cats, their fourth time bringing out the brooms during the year. Overall, the Grizzlies have won 18 series in 33 chances. Fresno improved to 42-22 versus Sacramento as an Astros affiliate (since 2015), with a 25-7 record on the road in that span. Finally, both clubs finished 2018 8-8 against one another with each team finishing 3-5 at their home ballpark.
On the evening, Fresno collected a season-high 19 hits with eight going for extra-bases. Seven batters recorded multi-hits with five adding two or more RBI. The win was also the second most lopsided victory over the River Cats and the 15 runs evened the most runs recorded against Sacramento. From the ninth inning yesterday to the first four frames tonight, the Grizzlies scored 15 runs. They also had two six-run innings in back-to-back games. In the series, Fresno logged 34 runs and 43 hits.
For the third consecutive game, the Grizzlies clawed out to a first inning lead. AJ Reed (2-for-5) lined a single to center, plating Myles Straw (2-for-5). It would be Reed's 100th RBI of 2018, which is tops in Triple-A. Fresno now has 10 100-RBI seasons in their first 21 years (since 1998), including Reed's 104 last year. That is tied with 2015 PCL MVP Matt Duffy for most by an Astros-affiliated player for the Grizzlies. Scott McClain holds the Grizzlies single-season record with 108 RBI (2008). Reed is now fourth all-time in franchise history for RBI (257), trailing Damon Minor (259), Brett Pill (315) and Todd Linden (325).
A four-run visitor's half of the second made it 5-0 Grizzlies. Garrett Stubbs walked and came around to score on a double and error by Alex De Goti (3-for-5). Then, Straw switched places with De Goti after smoking a double down the left field line. Finally, Kyle Tucker (4-for-6) punished a pitch to left-center field. The opposite park homer was the third in his last four at-bats and 20th at Triple-A.
Brock Stassi (2-for-3) put the River Cats on the board in the bottom of the second when he spanked a double to right-center. Miguel Gomez waltzed home on the play, cutting the deficit to 5-1.
Fresno extended the advantage to 7-1 in the top of the third. J.D. Davis (3-for-5) pummeled a solo shot to deep left field. The Sacramento native notched his second dinger of the series, fourth versus the River Cats this year and his 17th overall on the season. Nine of Davis' 17 clouts have come in his last 11 games. He has six longballs in the current seven-game road trip. Then, Yordan Alvarez (2-for-5) roped a double to the right-field corner, knocking in Derek Fisher (2-for-4).
Reed expanded the lead to 9-1 in the top of the fourth when he tattooed a two-run tater to left-center field. It was his 26th big fly of the year, the third best in Triple-A. Reed inched closer to the career franchise record in homers (75). Minor (79) and Linden (84) are the only players still ahead of the lefty.
A sixth-run top of the eighth lengthened the Grizzlies advantage to 15-1. Reed walked with the bases juiced, ramping his RBI total to four on the night and 103 on the season. He is one RBI away from his 2017 mark and five away from the single-season record. Then, Davis singled in Straw, his 77th RBI at Triple-A. That was followed by a Fisher double to right, plating a pair. Finally, Alvarez completed the scoring with a two-run single to left.
Up 15-1, Matt Ramsey closed out Sacramento with a perfect ninth, providing Fresno with their high-water mark of 21 games over .500. Brady Rodgers (2-3) earned the win after six solid innings. He allowed one run on eight hits, one walk and four strikeouts. Dean Deetz mustered two scoreless frames of relief. On the other side, Tyler Herb (1-8) suffered the decision after four rough innings. He scattered 12 hits, nine runs, two free passes and two punchouts.
The Grizzlies head back to Chukchansi Park for their last regular season homestand of 2018. A four-game set against the Bees starts Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PT. Fresno RHP Trent Thornton (9-8, 3.96) and Salt Lake fellow righty Ivan Pineyro (5-7, 7.02) are the probable matchup.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.