River Cats split series with Oklahoma City as lefty Hernandez shines in season debut
The Sacramento River Cats (28-16) defeated Oklahoma City (20-23) 11-2 on Sunday afternoon at Raley Field to earn a series split after dropping the first two games to the RedHawks.
After RedHawks starting LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-3, 5.23) issued consecutive walks to Jemile Weeks and Aaron Sogard in the bottom of the first, the River Cats offense set the tone when Michael Taylor tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI single to center field that scored Weeks. After advancing to third base on Taylor’s single, Aaron Sogard scored on the next at bat when Josh Donaldson hit a sacrifice ground-out to put Sacramento up 2-1. Rowland-Smith then walked DH Anthony Recker and Taylor swiped his third steal of the season before scoring on an Adrian Cardenas RBI single to RedHawks 1B Koby Clemens to put the River Cats up 3-1.
LHP Carlos Hernandez (1-0, 0.00), who was called up from AA Midland to start the game, had little trouble in limiting the RedHawks to six hits and one earned run over six quality innings that included four strikeouts and no walks. Hernandez, 23, was 4-1 with a 5.27 ERA in 42.2 innings with the Midland RockHounds. He is from Santa Clara, California.
The southpaw escaped a bases loaded jam in the top of the sixth when Oklahoma City 2B Jason Inglett grounded into a reverse double play in which he grounded out to 1B Wes Timmons. Timmons fired the ball to home plate where Donaldson tagged out Robinson Cancel to end the inning.
Beyond Hernandez’s strong outing, the River Cats asserted their lumber, tacking on ten runs through five innings. Weeks had the biggest day for Sacramento, going two for four including a three-run home run to right center, three runs scored, one walk and one stolen base. Center fielder Shane Peterson went two for four with a solo home run to right center field to lead off the bottom of the second inning. Recker went two for two with a double, three walks and a solo home run that bounced off the left field canopy. It was Recker’s second home run in as many days.
Oklahoma City wasn’t as fortunate. The RedHawks were limited to two unearned runs on six hits, only one of which was for extra bases. Oklahoma City managed only one walk that occurred in the seventh inning, which can be attributed largely to Sacramento’s collective performance on the mound.
When Hernandez was lifted in the top the seventh, RHP Andrew Carignan (0-0, 4.50) provided one inning of relief, giving up one unearned run, one hit and a walk before RHP Brett Hunter (0-0, 0.00) took care of the final two innings of work. Hunter did not allow a base runner and struck out the side in the top of the ninth.
*Anthony Recker was given the day off behind the plate after catching all 16 innings the night before.
*The River Cats originally scheduled RHP Josh Outman for the start, but scratched him after Oakland called him up for a major league start Monday in Anaheim.
*Attendance: 10, 711
*Sunday’s game was over three hours shorter than Saturday night’s record breaking game.