Solid Start Not Enough in Loss to Blaze

Cotton strong in seven innings, but Quakes score just one run

Jharel Cotton turned in another fantastic start for the Quakes on Sunday. (Steve Saenz/Rancho Cucamonga Quakes)

By Brandon Liebhaber / Rancho Cucamonga Quakes | August 4, 2014 12:02 AM ET

Rancho Cucamonga, CA - The Quakes got another great performance from a starting pitcher, but it wasn't enough in an 8-1 loss to the Bakersfield Blaze on Sunday evening. Rancho's offense scored just once and the bullpen gave up four runs in the ninth.

Jharel Cotton (5-8, 4.72) took the loss despite another fantastic outing. He gave up four runs (two earned) in seven innings on three hits. He struck out seven batters and walked just one. In his last three starts, Cotton has allowed just two earned runs in 23 innings while striking out 27 and walking six.

Rancho Cucamonga (25-18, 57-56) scored in the first inning to take an early lead. Casio Grider led off with a single before stealing second. Rob Garvey followed with a perfect bunt up the third-base line. Brent Peterson's throw to first was off the mark, and Grider came in to score on the error. 

That was Rancho's only run of the ballgame. Bakersfield's Mike Dennhardt (7-6, 4.73) earned his third-straight win for the Blaze, giving up just one run in seven innings of work.

Bakersfield (19-24, 64-49) took the lead in the fourth inning with a pair of unearned runs. Adam Law's throwing error gave the Blaze runners on second and third with nobody out. Jeff Gelalich's single to right field scored Beau Amaral to tie the game, and Zach Vincej scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch with two outs.

Rancho had a chance to tie the game in the fifth. With two outs and a runner on first, James Baldwin doubled to right-center field. Pratt Maynard attempted to score from first, but he was cut down at the plate. Baldwin finished the day as one of two Quakes with multiple hits.

The Blaze scored a pair of earned runs against Cotton in the seventh. Two batters after Sean Buckley led off with a single, Juan Perez smacked a two-run home run to right field. It was the 17th long ball allowed by Cotton this season, but the first in his last three starts. 

The Quakes' bullpen struggled in the ninth inning, giving up four runs on three hits and three walks. Three of the runs were charged to Gustavo Gomez, and the other was Yasmanys Fernandez's responsibility.

Rancho entered the contest with 102 hits in their last ten games, but they mustered just one run on six hits against the Blaze on Sunday. In each of their last two losses, Rancho has scored one run.

Rancho travels to High Desert for a three-game series in Adelanto starting on Monday. It is the first of seven-straight road contests against divisional foes for the Quakes. Lindsey Caughel (8-4, 3.21) puts his 6-1 Second Half record on the line against High Desert's Lars Huijer (0-2, 6.92). First pitch from Heritage Field is at 7:05 pm and the game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports AM 1350 starting with the LoanMart Pregame Report at 6:50 pm.

Rancho returns home on August 12 for a three-game set with San Jose. Tuesday, August 12 is a Healthy RC Recycle Tuesday! Bring 10 CRV-eligible bottles and cans to the ballpark and receive a free club-level ticket thanks to the City of Rancho Cucamonga and the Healthy RC Program! Wednesday, August 13 is a Terra Vista Animal Hospital Bark in the Ballpark! Bring your four-legged friend to the game for just $3, with proceeds going to the Rancho Cucamonga Animal Shelter. Thursday, August 14, is a Thirsty Thursday! Get 24-oz. Pepsi products and 16-oz. domestic drafts for just $2 while 16-oz. premium drafts, wine, champagne and margaritas are only $3 thanks to Bernards Construction! Tickets are still available by calling (909) 481-5000 or online at We hope to see you at LoanMart Field for the next home stand! Go Quakes!

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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