Lake Elsinore, CA - The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes saw their playoff hopes officially end on Sunday evening in Lake Elsinore, as the Storm dropped the Quakes by a score of 6-3.
Rancho's loss, coupled with High Desert's win over San Jose, officially eliminated the Quakes from playoff contention, as the club will miss the postseason for the second time in three years.
Dodger rehabbing lefty Onelki Garcia, scheduled to throw just one inning, got the start for Rancho on Sunday, but was unable to make it through a full inning. Garcia allowed a one-out single and then hit a batter, before giving up a two-run double to Jeremy Baltz, as the Storm took a 2-0 lead just four batters into the game. Garcia (0-1) was able to retire the next hitter for out number two, but was removed after just 16 pitches, in favor of reliever Yasmanys Fernandez, who got out of the inning without any further damage.
Storm starter Colin Rea (11-9) was strong in his last regular season start, as he allowed just an infield hit to James Baldwin over five innings, matching a season-high nine punch-outs.
Rancho's best scoring opportunity came in the sixth, as they loaded the bases against Storm reliever Tony Rizzotti with no outs, but couldn't get on the scoreboard. Erisbel Arruebarrena struck out, before Pratt Maynard popped up to third. Chris Jacobs ended the inning by striking out, as the Quakes left them loaded.
Originally-scheduled Quakes' starter Luis Chirinos was outstanding in relief, continuing a stretch of strong pitching for the Venezuelan. Chirinos set down the first 12 hitters he faced, before giving up a walk and a single to open the sixth. After getting the first out of the inning, Chirinos intentionally walked Jeremy Baltz, then gave way to Rob Rogers, who promptly gave up a two-run single to Gabriel Quintana, making it 4-0.
The Quakes got back in it in the seventh, when James Baldwin smashed his 14th homer of the year to right field, making it 4-1.
Pratt Maynard singled home a pair of runs off Storm reliever Adam Cimber in the eighth, but the Quakes would get no closer than 4-3.
Quakes' reliever Craig Stem gave up a two-run homer in the eighth, as Jeremy Baltz gave the Storm some cushion at 6-3, with his 11th round-tripper of the year.
Rancho went 1-2-3 in the ninth, as Storm closer Brandon Alger notched his 15th save of the year.
With the Quakes (32-37, 64-75) being eliminated from post-season contention, that leaves just one game remaining for Rancho Cucamonga in 2014. The Quakes will complete their season on Monday afternoon, taking on the Storm at The Diamond in a special Labor Day contest.
Tom Windle (12-8) will throw for the Quakes in the finale, while playoff-bound Lake Elsinore will send right-hander Rafael De Paula (2-4) to the bump, with first pitch scheduled for 2:05pm.
With the Quakes missing out on the 2014 postseason, the Quakes would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our fans for a tremendous season at LoanMart Field. We look forward to seeing you again, as the 2015 season will be here before you know it. Join us in Lake Elsinore on Labor Day Monday or tune in live on FOX Sports 1350, as the Quakes and Storm face off in the final game of the regular season. Once again, thanks for all of your support during this 2014 season...GO Quakes!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.