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While all the attention is focused on Manny Ramirez at the moment, it was Chris Carter who displayed his power Sunday night at Raley Field.
With the Sacramento River Cats trailing the Reno Aces 3-0 in the third inning, Carter hit a deep home run onto the clubhouse roof in left field for the lead and an eventual 5-4 victory.
This was the second straight game a River Cat hist a grand slam, as Brandon Inge hit one Saturday night during his brief rehab assignment for the Oakland A’s, in which he went 5-for-5.
Aside from the third inning, Aces starting pitcher Barry Enright had a strong performance. Enright, who entered the game with a record of 4-2, worked seven innings and gave up four hits to Sacramento. He also recorded 10 strikeouts.
Stephen Parker opened the third inning for the River Cats with a double to left-center field. Luke Hughes followed Parker by drawing a walk, and the next batter, Jermaine Mitchell, singled to left field to load the bases.
After a strikeout by Brandon Hicks, it was Ramirez’s turn, and the crowd of 9,427 sensed the potential for something big as they erupted with cheers while Ramirez approached the plate.
Instead of the clutch hit to drive one or more base runners home, Ramirez drew a somewhat anti-climactic RBI walk to bring Parker home and give the River Cats their first run of the ballgame. Carter followed Ramirez with the blast to clear the bases and put the River Cats in front 5-3.
Carter’s last home run came last Tuesday during the game against Round Rock, but he had not homered at Raley Field since April 14, the last time Reno was in town, so he was due.
Ramirez is now 6-for-28 with Sacramento and is eligible to rejoin the A’s on Wednesday following the completion of his 50-game suspension. However, that move does not appear to be an automatic. In all likelihood, Ramirez will spend additional time with the River Cats to get more at-bats and try to get his offense going.
Reno had a chance for a much bigger third inning as they received four consecutive base hits from the top half of the order but were only able to score two runs out of it all.
Adam Eaton, Jake Elmore and A.J. Pollock each singled to right field which scored Eaton. Cleanup hitter Randy Ruiz followed with a single to center field to drive in Elmore, but Ruiz was picked off of first base and caught stealing second base.
With two outs in the ninth inning, the Aces tacked on their fourth run and they had the tying run at second base, but Elmore grounded out to end the ballgame.
Brad Peacock picked up the victory for Sacramento and improved his record to 6-2. The River Cats are now 32-19 on the season.