River Cats rally, stun Zephyrs

Piedra homers, Stavisky adds RBI double in ninth inning

(Sacramento River Cats)

September 12, 2007 8:42 PM ET

Jorge Piedra shared the clutch hitting spotlight with Brian Stavisky on Wednesday night.

Piedra and Stavisky led a ninth-inning comeback as the Sacramento River Cats edged the New Orleans Zephyrs, 3-2, to take a 2-0 lead in the Pacific Coast League Championship Series.

Piedra blasted a one-out solo homer, his second of the postseason, to tie the score.

"I just came up and tried to barrel it up," said Piedra, whose two-run single helped the River Cats take the series opener on Tuesday. "It was a good feeling, and it took the wind out of their sails."

Brant Colamarino followed with a single and came around to score when Stavisky tagged Zephyrs reliever Ryan Cullen for a double.

"I thought [Zephyrs left fielder Chip] Ambres was going to play it perfectly," Piedra said. "It hit his glove and bounced off."

"I was real excited," Stavisky said. "It was neck and neck, I just wanted to be aggressive. The big hit was really Jorge's. If you want a guy coming up with a chance to get you the win, it's him."

Seven of Piedra's eight postseason RBIs have come in the sixth inning or later and have continued a trend the River Cats have followed all season.

"If it's close, we're never out of it," Stavisky said. "We've had clutch hitting. It's not surprising, it's happened a lot throughout the year. It's the makeup of the team."

Sacramento takes its series lead back home on Friday, but the players know first-hand that they can't be comfortable with a two-game lead.

"We've come back from being down 2-0 to Salt Lake," Stavisky said. "We're going home 2-0 and we need to get the third win. We're going to enjoy the win now and come back ready to play. We can't take anything for granted and let them back into the series."

"I think it's going to be difficult for them to beat us three straight games in a row at home," Piedra added. "Sacramento leads the Minor Leagues in attendance every year. Fans come out to watch -- its been electric. It's going to be intense and fun. We want to get it over right away and head to the Bricktown Showdown in Oklahoma."

Lou Merloni cranked a solo shot in the first to put the River Cats on the board.

"We're up right away," Stavisky said. "It's phenomenal, his leadership. He's been a leader. He's the heart and soul of this team."

Sacramento reliever Jerry Blevins (1-0) fanned four and walked one over 1 2/3 hitless frames and Brad Ziegler pitched around a hit with a strikeout in the ninth for his second save.

"[Ziegler] has been nasty all year," Piedra said. "I was thinking, 'This game is over.' He's been lights-out."

River Cats starter Michael Madsen allowed two runs on five hits while fanning four and walking two over 6 1/3 innings.

Fernando Tatis hit an RBI double and scored in the first for the Zephyrs.

New Orleans reliever Carlos Muniz (0-1) gave up two runs on two hits with a strikeout over one frame. Starter Dave Williams yielded one run on three hits with seven strikeouts and one walk in 7 2/3 innings.

Michael Blinn is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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