Offense comes alive late but River Cats fall to 51s
For the first six innings of Tuesday night’s ballgame, the Sacramento River Cats managed just one hit.
As it turned out, all they needed to get their offense going was to face a different pitcher. A crowd of nearly 10,600 watched as Las Vegas 51s starting pitcher Scott Richmond had a strong outing, striking out seven River Cats batters. His only blemish was a base hit by Travis Buck in the third inning.
Hits were difficult to come by all night, and both teams left 10 runners on base. The River Cats did get on the scoreboard, but their four-game winning streak was halted by a 4-2 loss to the 51s in the second game of the four game series.
River Cats starter Bobby Cramer did well in his five and two thirds’ innings of work, giving up just four hits and recording six strikeouts. The 51s did collect six walks and two runs off Cramer.
Cramer got into trouble to start the second inning when he issued a walk to 51s right fielder Jason Lane. Left fielder Aaron Mathews followed up with a double, and they were both driven home on a single by third baseman Brad Emaus. Cramer limited the damage and ended the inning with a pair of strikeouts and a fly-out.
Corey Brown, who was called back up to Sacramento from Double-A Midland, sparked a seventh-inning rally that finally got the River Cats offense going.
The 51s brought in reliever Josh Roenicke, who was welcomed with a leadoff home run to deep right field from Brown.
Adrian Cardenas followed up with a ball hit toward the left-center field gap, but he was thrown out at second base as he tried to stretch his hit into a double.
Michael Taylor recorded the third straight hit of the seventh inning when he smacked a ball that rolled all the way to the fence in left field, allowing him to reach second base. Taylor advanced to third on a ground-out, and he would score on a wild pitch to the next batter, Anthony Recker. Recker then doubled to left-center field and represented the tying run, but he was stranded as Corey Wimberly grounded out to end the inning.
Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the River Cats made one last attempt to win the game. Following a ground-out by Taylor and a fly-out by Tommy Everidge, who was re-signed to the River Cats earlier in the day, Recker doubled on a hard-hit ball down the right-field line that rolled all the way to the corner.
Recker moved to third on a base hit by Wimberly, who then stole second base. The next batter, Eric Sogard, drew a walk, and the River Cats were in business. However, the opportunity was blown when Buck grounded out to first to end the game.
Despite the loss, the River Cats’ magic number to win the division was reduced to four games as Fresno lost its game on Tuesday.