The first place Fresno Grizzlies (48-34) dropped a 3-1 decision on the road to the Sacramento River Cats (37-46) on Sunday, and are 2-5 against their in-state rivals this season despite being 36-19 against Sacramento as a Houston Astros affiliate (since 2015), with a 21-6 mark at Raley Field in Northern California in that time.
Fresno drew first blood in the first inning, when Myles Straw (4-for-5) led the game with a single to center field. Straw eventually scored on a J.D. Davis sac fly to right for a 1-0 lead. Straw, batting .385 in his first 15 Triple-A games since being promoted to Fresno, achieved his first four-hit game of the season with the Grizzlies. Earlier this year with Double-A Corpus Christi, Straw had three games of at least four hits (two five-hit games). Straw also stole his ninth base already with Fresno on Sunday; his 44 steals this season lead all of professional baseball at all levels.
Sacramento starter Mike Connolly, a converted catcher, lasted four and a third innings in his fourth Triple-A pitching appearance and second start. His run was earned on five hits and and two walks with four strikeouts.
With the game tied 1-1 in the sixth, the River Cats un-tied it on a RBI single by Chase d'Arnaud and a run-scoring fielder's choice off the bat of Gregor Blanco, the final runs of the contest.
Fresno starter Josh James (2-4) struck out 12 batters in five-plus innings pitched and allowed just one hit, but surrendered three (earned) runs by walking four. James became the first Fresno Grizzlies pitcher since Matt Kinney in 2005 to strike out 10-plus batters four times in a season.
River Cats reliever Jose Valdez (2-2) picked up the win tossing two scoreless over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings (2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K)
The fourth game of the series will be Monday evening at 7:05 p.m. PT at Raley Field. Probable starters are RHP Brock Dykxhoorn (2-1, 3.82) on his 24th birthday for Fresno, and rehabbing San Francisco Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija for Sacramento.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.