The Fresno Grizzlies (29-32) won for the sixth time in eight outings Thursday night in the series finale at Sacramento, taking three of four from the River Cats (23-36) after dropping the Monday opener of this season-long 11-game road trip. It's the first three-game road win streak for Fresno this season. The 9-1 win improved the Grizz to 6-2 in June. Also winners of 11 of their last 14, the Grizzlies have now won three consecutive four-game series, and have not dropped a series since May 15-18 vs. Nashville.
Fresno starter David Martinez wiggled out of a bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the second. Despite four unique batters stepping in with the bases loaded, the only damage was an Ali Castillo sacrifice fly which opened the scoring for a 1-0 Sacramento lead.
The Grizzlies manufactured a run of their own in the bottom of the second. Alejandro Garcia (3-for-4) led off with a double, and tagged up to third base on a fly ball off Tony Kemp's bat. A Tyler White (2-for-4) RBI groundout plated Garcia to equal things 1-1.
Garcia is now 32-for-76 in 22 career Triple-A games with Fresno, a .421 average (8-for-15 this season). He played in 17 games with the Grizzlies at the tail end of last year; Thursday night was his fifth this season after being transferred from Double-A Corpus Christi on May 30.
Fresno busted the game open in the fifth, orchestrating a nine-batter, four-run visitor's half. Max Stassi (2-for-2) and Reid Brignac each worked walks to get it started, and each scored. A Garcia bunt single loaded the bases before Kemp (single), White (sac-fly), Preston Tucker (single) and Derek Fisher (fielder's choice, 2-for-4) delivered the RBI blows, for a 5-1 lead halfway through the contest. Kemp has now scored 14 runs in his last 14 games, with seven extra-base hits and eight RBI in that span.
Sacramento starter Chris Stratton (1-4) lasted just 4.1 innings, allowing five (earned) runs on five hits and three walks. Stratton struck out three in a losing effort.
Stassi padded the lead in the sixth, lifting his fourth homer of the season to right, the opposite field. The leadoff solo shot made the score 6-1, off the bat of the Sacramento-area native. In front of the usual friends and family, Stassi reached base five times in each of his plate appearances, with three walks as well.
Martinez (3-6) stayed red hot on the hill, dealing his fourth consecutive quality start, the first on the road in that stretch. Martinez tossed 7.0 six-hit innings, the run he allowed unearned. He struck out three, walking one. In Martinez's last four starts, he's gone 27 innings allowing just 18 hits and four runs (three earned), with eight walks and 18 strikeouts. Martinez is carrying a 0.96 WHIP and a 1.00 ERA during that span.
Fisher's fourth inning single now has him hitting safely in 13 of his last 14 games, in which the Grizzlies are 11-3. Fisher has hit safely in 35 of his last 40 outings overall. In the eighth, after a Tucker RBI fielder's choice made it 7-1, Fisher smacked his club-best 16th homer, a two-run shot to finish off the Fresno scoring at 9-1. J.D. Davis, who homered twice on Thursday for Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas League), is equal with Fisher among Astros minor league prospects with 16 home runs.
Sacramento's Ryder Jones hit his seventh homer of the season, a solo-shot in the eighth, to make it a 9-2 final.
Tucker's two RBI gives him a club high 45, with Fisher's three RBI putting him right behind at 43. Tucker also has 15 multi-RBI games which leads Fresno, with Fisher in second again at 11 multi-RBI efforts. Leading the club with 24 multi-hit games, Fisher has recorded multiple hits in 42% of his 57 games played.
The 11-game road trip will now shift to the western-most reaches of Texas, for the Grizzlies' first match-up of 2017 with the El Paso Chihuahuas. The first of a three-game weekend series is Friday evening, with Fresno probable starter Dean Deetz (0-1, 27.00) making his second career Triple-A appearance against El Paso's Zach Lee (1-1, 5.63).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.