WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. - On a cool and rainy Friday night at Raley Field, the Sacramento River Cats (12-9) rallied around a seven-run seventh inning to best the El Paso Chihuahuas (8-13) by a score of 14-5.
After six normal innings of baseball, the winds-of-change altered a somewhat mistake-free pitching duel into an error-filled hitting battle. The two teams combined for 10 runs, eight hits, six walks, five errors, four pitching changes, and a wild pitch in the 58 minute-long seventh inning.
The Chihuahuas scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take the lead 4-3. River Cats reliever RHP Jose Flores allowed consecutive hits to start the inning and gave up a run on a Tyler Greene sacrifice fly. After a walk, lefty reliever Joe Savery replaced Flores. Raymond Fuentes grounded into what should have been a tailor-made double-play, but a fielding error by second baseman Tyler Ladendorf allowed a run to score. Another error by Ladendorf in the next at-bat pushed the go-ahead run across the plate. Savery eventually got out of the inning after Jeff Francoeur flew out to center.
Sacramento batted around-and then some-in the seventh inning, scoring seven runs to take the lead over El Paso for good on their way their first-ever victory over the Chihuahuas. The River Cats scored their first run-of the seventh inning-on a bases loaded walk drawn by right fielder Kent Matthes. Catcher Ryan Ortiz singled in the next at-bat driving in Michael Taylor from third. Two throwing errors on the play allowed shortstop Andy Parrino to score and advanced Ortiz and Matthes to second and third respectively. Ladendorf got some redemption on a two-run single and advanced to second on a fielding error, then scored on a single by center fielder Shane Peterson. Right fielder Jake Goebbert then singled on an infield pop-up that found grass after some defensive confusion by El Paso, scoring Peterson from second with two outs. Parrino popped out to finally end the inning.
The River Cats scored two runs in the first inning on back-to-back two-out RBI hits. The first run came on a double to left field by first baseman Nate Freiman that plated Peterson, who led-off the game with a single. Freiman would then score on a single by Taylor, giving the Cats an early 2-0 lead over the Chihuahuas.
Sacramento notched another run in the bottom of the second inning on a sacrifice fly. A walk by Ortiz, a single by Ladendorf, and an error put runners on first and third with only one out. Third baseman Jose Martinez then hit a deep enough fly ball to center field to allow Ortiz to tag and score from third.
The Chihuahuas put a run across the board in the top of the sixth after back-to-back singles by Jake Lemmerman and Raymond Fuentes put runners on the corners with nobody out. After a Rico Noel lineout, Travis Buck singled home Lemmerman from third to cut the River Cats lead to 3-1. The River Cats were able to escape the sixth with minimal damage after inducing two-straight outs to end the threat.
El Paso scored a run in the eighth and Sacramento added four more runs of their own on a grand slam by Goebbert, his team-leading fourth home run of the year.
Goebbert finished 2-for-6 with a home run and five RBI. Ladendorf boosted his average to .385 on the season on a 3-for-5 night with two runs and an RBI.
River Cats starter RHP Arnold Leon (1-1, 3.75 ERA) put together his second-straight quality start in a no-decision allowing only one run on four hits over six innings while striking out four and walking two.
El Paso southpaw starter Juan Oramas (1-, 4.79 ERA) was pulled after three innings, his shortest outing of the season. He had four strikeouts, but gave up three runs on five hits and four walks in a no-decision.
LHP Joe Savery came away with the win for the Cats, moving to 4-0 on the season. Taking the loss was Chihuahuas RHP Jorge Reyes.
The River Cats and Chihuahuas are at it again tomorrow night at Raley Field on Sutter Health Fireworks Saturday. Sacramento will send right-hander Marcus Walden (0-0, 9.00 ERA) to the hill to take on El Paso righty Keyvius Sampson (0-2, 6.32 ERA) in game three of the series with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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