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Jermaine Mitchell came within a home run of hitting for the cycle Friday night as the Sacramento River Cats snapped a brief two-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Tacoma Rainiers.
Sacramento’s left fielder wasted no time getting the offense going as he led off the home half of the first inning with his first triple of the season. The shot to the gap in right-center field rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Mitchell to fly around the bases. He would score the game’s first run on a ground ball out by designated hitter Michael Taylor.
Collin Cowgill, who was optioned to Sacramento by the Oakland A’s on Wednesday, batted second and drew a walk which would become the River Cats’ second run of the inning on a base hit to right field by Grant Green.
The Rainiers got one run back in the second inning after a lead-off double to the gap in right-center field by Chih-Hsien Chiang. Scott Savastano hit a two-out single to right field and with Chiang rounding third base Cowgill had a play at the plate. However, his throw sailed over the head of catcher Derek Norris and Chiang scored easily.
Cowgill’s error was one of three River Cat errors in the game. Chris Carter and Travis Banwart also accounted for one apiece.
The River Cats tacked on four more runs on five hits in the third inning, which started with Mitchell's double to shallow right field.
The third inning also included a steal of third base by the 6-foot-5, 256-pound Taylor.
Rainiers starting pitcher Jarrett Grube lasted just three innings after giving up seven hits and six of the River Cats’ runs.
Mitchell collected a single in the fourth inning but was caught stealing second base. He batted again in the seventh inning but a groundout to first base ended his shot for the cycle.
Rainiers leadoff batter and center fielder Trayvon Robinson cut the Sacramento lead in half at 6-3 at the start of the fifth with a deep home run to the grassy hill in right field.
Like Cowgill, pitcher Andrew Carignan also started the season with the A’s but he was optioned to Sacramento on Tuesday and came in to relieve starter Banwart after six innings. Carignan retired all six batters he faced and recorded three strikeouts.
This victory improves the River Cats’ record to 11-5 and this concludes their season-opening homestand.