West Sacramento, CA - It's not easy to follow up a complete game shutout, but Sacramento River Cats (35-48) starter Ty Blach did just that Saturday night as he dismantled the Albuquerque Isotopes (32-50) at Raley Field. The left-hander struck out a season-best 10 as his offense pieced together enough for a 5-2 win.
Blach (8-5, 4.12) struggled just a touch out of the gate, giving up two runs on four hits in the first three innings to the visiting Isotopes. He settled in shortly thereafter, giving up just two more hits the rest of the night. For the second straight game, the southpaw did not allow a walk. He struck out a season-best 10 in the effort, three of which caught Isotopes' hitters looking. He threw 101 pitches - a new season high - in the outing, 72 of them for strikes. Of his 26 batters faced, Blach threw first pitch strikes to 15.
The win was Blach's eighth this season and his second straight. In his last two games combined, Blach has thrown 16 innings and allowed just two runs (1.13 ERA) while striking out 16 and walking none.
The bullpen silenced the Isotopes hitters the rest of the way as relief pitchers Jean Machi and Steven Okert threw two scoreless innings in relief of Blach. Through the first three games of this series, the River Cats bullpen has allowed one earned run in nine innings pitched.
Offensively tonight, manager Jose Alguacil employed a familiar strategy in the River Cats win: small ball. Sacramento's first run of the game came courtesy of centerfielder Gorkys Hernandez, who stole his team-leading 14th base to get into scoring position. Hot-hitting Ali Castillo executed Alguacil's hit and run call to perfection, scoring Hernandez and giving him his sixth hit in his eighth at-bat for Sacramento. On the night, the two would finish 4-for-8 with three runs scored.
It was a coming out party for first baseman Ricky Oropesa tonight as well, as the new River Cats infielder picked up his first base hit in Triple-A. The power-hitting lefty joined in on the small ball, coming through on another hit and run for the River Cats. Travis Ishikawa scored easily from second while Myles Schroder came all the way home from first on Oropesa's single.
The River Cats will look for their fourth series win at Raley Field tomorrow night as Vin Mazzaro (2-0, 1.88) makes his second start this season and his first at home. He will oppose Isotopes left-hander Harrison Musgrave (3-5, 4.20), the 25th ranked prospect in the Rockies organization. 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.
The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A affiliate of the 2014 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 2016 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.