WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A season-high 15,618 fans made up the sellout crowd that watched the Oklahoma City RedHawks (66-63) defeat the Sacramento River Cats (72-56) by a score of 7-2 on Sutter Health Fireworks Saturday and Star Wars Night at Raley Field.
Oklahoma City put themselves on top early in the contest. An RBI-ground out by RedHawks left fielder Preston Tucker scored shortstop Jonathan Villar to give his club a 1-0 lead.
River Cats center fielder Shane Peterson gave his club a new hope in the bottom of the first, taking the 1-1 offering from RedHawks starter Alex White (2-5, 6.14 ERA) over the center-field fence for a two-run homer, shifting the balance of the force in the River Cats' favor. The blast was Peterson's 10th of the year and he finished the evening 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI.
With Sacramento ahead 2-1 in the top of the second inning, Oklahoma City first baseman Matt Duffy smacked a solo home run to left field off Cats righty Arnold Leon (10-6, 5.27 ERA) that looked headed towards Cloud City. Duffy's 12th homer tied the ballgame at two and he ended up 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI on the night.
RedHawks designated hitter Jesus Guzman had a difficult night on the bases trying to cross home plate. Guzman was thrown out by Cats left fielder Kyle Blanks at home in the top of the fifth inning, and was gunned down at the plate again in the bottom of the seventh, this time by River Cats right fielder Nick Buss.
Guzman would have his redemption in the top of the ninth inning, as he drove in the eventual game-winning run on a sacrifice-fly to right field, scoring Ronald Torreyes to make it a 3-2 ballgame. Oklahoma City would add three more runs on a fielding-error by Peterson, making the score 7-2 and putting the game out of reach.
Taking the loss for the Cats was reliever Jeremy McBryde after allowing five runs−two earned−on two hits and three walks with a strikeout, moving him to 3-3 on the season. RedHawks reliever Jason Stoffel picked up his fourth win of the year after relieving White in the eighth inning.
Leon tossed six innings for Sacramento, surrendering two earned runs on six hits and four walks with seven strikeouts, while his counterpart White pitched seven innings, allowing two earned runs, two hits, and two walks with seven strikeouts of his own. At one point in the contest, White retired 16-straight River Cats to help keep the game knotted at two.
Buss picked up a single in the bottom of the eighth to extend his hitting-streak to 22 games, and he completed the game 1-for-4. Guzman ended up 3-for-3 with an RBI and a walk for the RedHawks, helping lead them to the victory.
Righty Deck McGuire (1-2, 7.64 ERA) takes the mound for the Sacramento against Oklahoma City and southpaw Rudy Owens (7-5, 4.76 ERA) at 5:05 p.m. on K-LOVE Sunday Funday at Raley Field. Sunday is Faith & Family night at the ballpark where fans have the opportunity to enjoy a postgame concert by Lincoln Brewster.
River Cats Season Tickets, Mini-Plans, and Flex Plans can be purchased for the 2014 season by calling the River Cats Ticket Hotline at (916) 371-HITS (4487). Single-game tickets can now be purchased at Raley Field's Round Table Pizza Ticket Office or online at rivercats.com or ticketmaster.com. For more information about the River Cats, visit www.rivercats.com. For information on other events at Raley Field, visit www.raleyfield.com.