WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Starting the series on an impressive note, the Sacramento River Cats offense totaled 12 hits including a key two-run double from Ricardo Genoves while the pitching staff combined for 12 strikeouts started by the effort of Keaton Winn, leading from start to finish in the series
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Starting the series on an impressive note, the Sacramento River Cats offense totaled 12 hits including a key two-run double from Ricardo Genoves while the pitching staff combined for 12 strikeouts started by the effort of Keaton Winn, leading from start to finish in the series opener against the Tacoma Rainiers for a 4-1 victory.
Ready from the first pitch was the River Cats (24-28), as the bats were hot early to the tune of eight hits through the first three frames. They began the contest by loading the bases with no outs, had the bags full again in the second with one out and put two more aboard in the third. However, Sacramento managed just one run after a bases loaded walk to Ford Proctor in the opening inning, and left a total of seven runners stranded.
Meanwhile, Winn was in a groove as he squared off against the Rainiers (25-27) for the first time in 2023, as his early effort helped the River Cats overcome the inability to find the clutch knock. He retired each of the first five Tacoma hitters and faced just two batters over the minimum with three punchouts through his first three innings.
Neither team provided much resistance in the fourth, with both teams going down in order. The final of those outs was the last strikeout from Winn, who exited after 4.0 innings with just the one hit allowed and four total punchouts.
Finally, the River Cats were able to find their timely hit in the fifth, putting the first two batters on thanks to a single from Colton Welker and a walk to Proctor. Tacoma was able to come up with a pair of quick outs, but both Welker and Proctor initiated a double steal after a strikeout to advance both into scoring position. That play proved crucial, as each scored on a deep double to the left-center gap by Genoves that made the score 3-0.
First out of the bullpen was Tanner Andrews (2-2), entering in the bottom of the frame to begin his 1.2 innings of scoreless work. Andrews did issue a trio of two-out walks, two of which came in the fifth, but with the help of Chris Wright securing the final out of the sixth, left all three runners stranded.
Returning to the mound for the seventh, Wright worked around a leadoff single by Adam Engel, sandwiching a flyout with a pair of strikeouts. That was only the second hit in the contest for the Rainiers, both of which came from Engel.
Battling in the eighth, Tacoma managed to load the bases with a pair of outs against Erik Miller. It was three consecutive two-out walks that did the damage, but Miller was able to compose himself and fittingly blow a 98-mph fastball past Engel to escape the jam.
Sacramento added one final insurance run in the top half of the ninth on an RBI fielder’s choice with the infield in from Tyler Fitzgerald, scoring Will Wilson who had initially reached thanks to his double to center. The final River Cats hurler to see action in the game was Nick Avila, entering in a non-save situation and preserving a 4-1 victory after allowing the only Tacoma run on a pair of hits.
It was Andrews that took credit for the victory, while charged with the loss for Tacoma was opener Ryder Ryan (2-2). Both parts of the lefty duo Wright and Miller captured holds for their efforts, and the Sacramento staff combined for 12 strikeouts while surrendering just four hits to the Rainiers.
Producing his third three-hit contest of the season was Luis Matos, scoring once while going 3-for-5. Only two of Sacramento’s 12 hits went for extra bases, the first the crucial two-out, two-RBI double by Genoves that scored the game’s eventual winning run. The other came from Wilson, who was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Additionally, both Fitzgerald and Welker finished 2-for-5, with Fitzgerald driving one in while Welker scored once.
Both teams will be back in action tomorrow at 6:05 p.m. from Cheney Stadium for game two of this six-game set.