The Sacramento River Cats (25-40) could not withstand the offensive barrage by the Las Vegas 51s (27-40), as they fell 12-4 in the desert on Thursday night.
Scheduled starter Joan Gregorio was scratched just before the game and right-hander Dusten Knight filled in with a valiant effort to get the bullpen through four innings with the game still within striking distance.
The River Cats had their best chance in the 6th inning, down 4-1 with the bases loaded and nobody out, when Chris Shaw singled home Conor Gillapsie to make it 4-2. The rally ended there, however, as 51s starter Tyler Pill stuck out Mac Williamson before inducing an inning-ending double play from Tim Federowicz.
Las Vegas took control from there, scoring three in the bottom of the 6th, and five in the 7th to stretch the lead to 12-2. Sacramento got some late fireworks when Ryder Jones and Chris Shaw each launched a solo home run in the 8th, but it was too little too late as the River Cats dropped the 7th in their last nine games.
The River Cats will send right-hander Roberto Gomez (1-3, 5.12) to the mound for the series finale in the desert, while the 51s will counter with righty Donovan Hand (1-2, 7.16). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. (PT) and the game can be heard live online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320.
Gregorio scratched: Joan Gregorio was the scheduled starter in this one, but was a late scratch for an unannounced reason…in his last three starts, the big right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.93 ERA over 18.1 innings, with a 15:4 strikeout to walk ratio.
Knight in shining armor: Dusten Knight answered the bell with a late spot-start after Gregorio was scratched and performed admirably…the righty got through four innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits, a walk and two strikeouts…the start was only the second of Knight's professional career, and his first since August 9, 2015.
Rehab repot: San Francisco Giants infielder Conor Gillaspie played the seven innings at first base in this one, going 2-4 with a single, a double, and a run scored…in nine games rehab with the River Cats this season, Gillaspie is hitting just .231.
To err is human: The River Cats committed three errors tonight, and eight thus far in the series against Las Vegas…the three errors tonight turned into three unearned runs.
The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A affiliate of the three-time World Champion San Francisco Giants. The team plays at Raley Field in West Sacramento, consistently voted one of the top ballparks in America. River Cats Season Tickets, Mini-Plans, and Flex Plans can be purchased for the 2017 season by calling the River Cats Ticket Hotline at (916) 371-HITS (4487). For more information about the River Cats, visit www.rivercats.com. For information on other events at Raley Field, visit www.raleyfield.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.