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After being shut out for two straight games, including their home opener on Friday night, the Sacramento River Cats got their offense back on track Saturday as their first homestand of the 2012 season continued with the Reno Aces.
Grant Green and Derek Norris collected two hits apiece while Chris Carter smacked his first homerun of the season. The River Cats held on to beat the Aces by a final score of 4-3.
River Cats starting pitcher Fabio Castro and three relievers combined to record ten strikeouts on the night and Castro earned his first victory of the year. Castro recorded five of those strikeouts while walking a batter and allowing just one run on four hits by the Aces.
Reno used three consecutive base hits in the first inning to jump out to a 1-0 lead after Cole Gillespie was driven home on a single to right-center field from Randy Ruiz.
In the bottom half of the second inning Norris hit a one-out double to the corner in right field. He was followed by Adam Rosales, who hit into the same corner to drive Norris home and tie the game at 1-1.
Green, who was 3-for-4 on Friday, recorded his second hit in Saturday’s game with a single to right field in the third inning. He was brought home on Carter’s first homerun of the season, a two-run shot over the fence in left-center field.
Carter led off the fifth inning with a walk and advanced to third base after Brandon Moss dropped a shallow base hit in front of Aces right fielder Gillespie. After Michael Taylor struck out, Norris hit a shot back up the middle to score Carter and give the River Cats a 4-1 lead.
Aces starting pitcher Tom Layne was relieved following the score by Carter. Layne struck out three, walked two and gave up four runs on eight hits in four and one-third innings of work while taking the loss to drop his record to 0-2.
Reno refused to go away quietly and they managed to make things interesting late in the game.
With Neil Wagner on the mound for Sacramento in the seventh inning, Konrad Schmidt opened with a single to right field. After Ryan Wheeler struck out, Taylor Harbin hit a grounder to Rosales, who flipped it to second base to get Schmidt on the force out. Ninth-place hitter Tony Manzella followed with a single to right that moved Schmidt over to third base.
A wild pitch by Wagner was recovered by Norris near the backstop but his throw to Wagner covering the plate was high and Harbin scored. Manzella advanced to second base and he would score on A.J. Pollock’s double to right field, cutting the River Cats lead to 4-3. Wagner was able to end the inning by striking out Evan Frey.
Evan Scribner came in to pitch the ninth inning for the River Cats and with one out Harbin hit a deep fly ball to the left-center field gap but it stayed in the park. Manzella would ground out to end the game and Scribner got the save for Sacramento.