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Coco Crisp started his second straight game in center field for the Sacramento River Cats Wednesday night. Everyone's favorite nine-year major league veteran whose name is derived from a breakfast cereal led off the home half of the first with a sharply hit single to left center to extend his hitting streak to, well, two games.
The former Cleveland Indian, Boston Red Sock, and Kansas City Royal was pulled after the fifth inning, finishing his night going one for two with a strikeout. Though Crisp got all the fanfare, another former Cleveland Indian actually had more of an impact on the game.
Jamey Wright, signed as a free agent on Tuesday, combined with starter Kyle Middleton and reliever Edwar Ramirez to limit the Reno Aces to two hits in the 4-0 River Cats shutout.
I did a double take when I saw the 15-year major league vet take the mound to start the sixth inning. He was released by the Indians last week. Should he get called up by Oakland, they would be his eighth major league team.
Giants fans may remember Wright as the fifth starter on their 2006 squad that finished 76-85, otherwise known as "The Oldest Team Ever." Their youngest regular starter was 31-year old-Pedro Feliz. They once started 41-year-old Steve Finley in left, 41-year-old Barry Bonds in center, and 39-year-old Moises Alou in right. Hard to believe that didn't work out. But I digress.
Middleton threw four and two-thirds innings of no-hit ball before giving up a sharp single to Pedro Ciriaco. The only other Aces hit of the night was a Brandon Allen single off Wright in the seventh.
It was still knotted up at 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth when another recent River Cat addition, Adam Heether, formerly of the Brewers AAA team in Nashville, led off the inning with a double. Two productive fly-ball outs later, the second an RBI sacrifice by Anthony "Home" Recker, and the River Cats had manufactured a run. It would prove to be all they needed.
Not knowing that fact, however, they tacked a few more on in the seventh. 2004 Minor League Player of the Year Dallas McPherson led off the inning with a walk. Heether followed with a single to left. The runners advanced on a wild pitch to Michael Taylor, who proceeded to lace an RBI single to center.
Following a Recker strikeout, Corey Wimberly drove in Heether with a sacrifice fly to right, and Taylor made it all the way to third with some heads-up base running and a throwing error from Aces catcher Carlos Corporan.
Michael Affronti then capped the scoring with an RBI single to center.
Ramirez held the Aces hitless in the final two innings to preserve the shutout.
It was another great all-around game for the home team, who have been playing some of their best ball of the season since they returned home. Great pitching, good defense, heads-up base running and fundamental baseball do wonders for a team.
Keep an eye on Heether. He was leading the Nashville Sounds in home runs and RBI when the Brewers placed him on waivers. He has five hits in nine at bats on the home stand and is batting .344 in 10 games since joining the River Cats. The Sounds loss appears to be the Cats gain.
Sacramento goes for the four-game series sweep Thursday night behind veteran John Halama. The way they are playing, I expect them to get it.
The really good pics are the work of Ahsan Awan, the rest are mine.