The Sacramento River Cats (15-15) clawed back to .500 on the season after defeating the Fresno Grizzlies (19-12) 6-5 Sunday afternoon from Chukchansi Park. With the loss, Fresno drops to 10-5 at home on the year and 35-16 versus Sacramento since 2015. River Cats' starter Matt Gage (2-0) earned the win after tossing five and two-thirds innings, scattering five hits, one run (earned), walking two and striking out three. Grizzlies' starter Trent Thornton (2-2) suffered the loss after hurling six innings. He allowed seven hits, three runs (earned), walking one and fanning eight.
Sacramento took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Kyle Jensen (2-for-4) sharply singled to left, scoring Chris Shaw. The lead extended to 3-0 in the top of the fifth when Austin Slater (2-for-4) lasered a RBI double down the left field line. It was followed by a Hunter Pence fielder's choice two batters later.
Fresno got one back in the home half of the sixth when J.D. Davis (3-for-5) doubled and trotted home on a single to right by AJ Reed (2-for-5).
Ryder Jones (3-for-4) and Jensen pushed the advantage to 6-1 River Cats when the duo went back-to-back in the top of the eighth.
With their backs against the wall, the Grizzlies managed five straight singles to open the ninth, pushing two runs across. Antonio Nunez and Drew Ferguson were credited with RBI. Then, Davis added two more runs when he smoked a single up the middle. The four-run inning was halted when Manny Parra got a groundout to end the game. His second save gave the River Cats a 6-5 victory.
Alejandro Garcia and Jack Mayfield added a pair of hits, while Chris Nunn worked a scoreless ninth in the defeat.
The finale of the four-game set will be played Monday night from Chukchansi Park. Fresno RHP Cy Sneed (2-1, 4.97) and Sacramento RHP Dereck Rodriguez (1-0, 4.26) are the probable pitchers. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.