In a big inning for the Triple-A Aviators in their playoff opener, Alfonso Rivas had the biggest knock of them all.
Oakland's No. 25 prospect smashed a three-run homer in the third inning as Las Vegas pulled away from Sacramento in Wednesday's 9-3 victory at Raley Field during Game 1 of the best-of-3 Pacific Coast League semifinals.
Video: Aviators' Rivas smacks three-run dinger
With Mark Payton and Dustin Garneau on base with two out in the third, Rivas knocked a 2-2 pitch from right-hander Ryan Halstead over the wall in right-center field to give the Aviators a 6-1 lead.
"He started me off with two heaters and I was seeing it pretty well," Rivas told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I felt comfortable in the at-bat, even after going down 0-2. I just got a really good pitch to hit and got to do some damage with it."
The homer capped a five-run frame in which all the teams were scored after two outs.
"That third inning was huge," Las Vegas manager Fran Riordan told the Review-Journal. "We did all that damage with two outs."
Rivas spent just eight games at the Triple-A level prior to the playoffs, hitting .406 with a homer, a triple, two doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored. In 114 games at Class A Advanced Stockton this season, Rivas posted a .283/.383/.408 slash line with eight dingers, three triples, 24 doubles, 60 runs and 55 RBIs.
Gameday box score
Oakland's No. 16 prospect Skye Bolt added a solo homer in the fourth off Halstead while No. 21 prospect Jonah Heim and Eric Campbell added two RBIs apiece.
Right-hander Daniel Mengden gave up two earned runs on five hits and a walk while fanning six over 4 1/3 innings. Righty Ben Bracewell notched the win after fanning five and working around two hits and a walk over 1 2/3 scoreless frames, and southpaw Kyle Lobstein allowed an unearned run on a hit and two walks with a strikeout over two-thirds of an inning.
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Righty Kyle Finnegan fanned one over 1 1/3 perfect innings and righty J.B. Wendelken retired the side in order, fanning one, to close out the game.
Riordan appreciated the effort the bullpen gave in the win.
"That was everything," the skipper told the newspaper. "Mengden wasn't going to be able to go deep in the ballgame, so we needed our guys in the 'pen to shine, and every one of them was really up to the task."
Game 2 is set for 9:35 p.m. ET on Thursday.
In other Pacific Coast League action:
Express 5, Cubs 4 (11 innings)
Trailing by two and down to its last out with the bases loaded in the 11th inning, Round Rock's Alex De Goti drew an RBI walk before Chas McCormick singled in the tying and winning runs off Dillon Maples as the Express walked off in Game 1 of the semifinals. Drew Ferguson collected three hits, including a two-run homer in the second off Colin Rea, and McCormick added three knocks. Right-hander Brendan McCurry picked up the victory after giving up two runs -- one earned -- on two hits over two frames. Game 2 of the best-of-3 series is scheduled for Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET. Gameday box score