RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. - The Lancaster JetHawks took a big step toward a first half title and playoff berth with a 7-2 win over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Friday night at LoanMart Field.
The victory pushed the JetHawks (37-31) to 2.0 games up on the Quakes (35-33) with two games to play in the half. Lancaster can win the South Division's first half with a victory in either Saturday or Sunday's game. At worst, the JetHawks would play a one-game playoff for the title if the Quakes win both games.
Starter Peter Lambert (5-6) and three Lancaster relievers worked in and out of trouble all game long, stranding 16 Quakes runners on the bases, a season-high for the Quakes and for a JetHawks opponent.
Lancaster opened the game with a run against Sergio Romo, who started for the Quakes on a rehab assignment. Garrett Hampson led off with a double to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He stole third base and scored on a Brendan Rodgers groundout. The Quakes would answer with two runs against Lambert in the bottom of the first to take the lead.
Yadier Alvarez, the originally scheduled starter, entered the game for Romo in the third inning and immediately coughed up the lead. Mylz Jones extended his hitting streak to 12 games as well with a lead off double to shallow center field. Chris Rabago singled him to third. Hampson and Rodgers brought both runners home with sacrifice flies.
Lambert struck out back-to-back hitters in the third inning to escape a bases loaded jam. In the fourth, he struck out Luke Raley to strand runners at second and third. He pitched five innings and allowed two runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Marc Magliaro entered out of the bullpen and struck out the first two batters of the inning before an error extended the frame. The Quakes would load the bases, but the right-hander induced an inning-ending ground out to second base. He followed with a scoreless seventh inning.
The JetHawks broke the game open in the top of the seventh. Wes Rogers delivered an RBI-single before Jones picked up a run with a sac-fly. An error allowed Rogers to score later in the frame to put the JetHawks ahead, 6-2. They would add another unearned run in the eighth.
Salvador Justo and Alexander Guillen finished the contest with scoreless frames out of the pen.
Rodgers finished the game 0-for-3 with two RBI to end his league-best 23-game hitting streak.
The JetHawks will attempt to clinch the first half title on Saturday night at LoanMart Field. Jesus Tinoco (4-1) will start against Dustin Smeltzer (1-0). First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.