River Cats 5, Cubs 4
Tuesday, August 17
The Sacramento River Cats edged the Iowa Cubs in the first game of their four game series on Tuesday at Raley Field. Timely hitting and great closing pitching proved to be the difference in securing the victory for Sacramento.
The Cubs got the early 1-0 lead in the first inning. After being hit by a pitch, left fielder James Adduci moved over to second base on a single hit by right fielder Brad Snyder, and was driven to the plate by first baseman Micah Hoffpauir with a shot to left-center field.
Sacramento answered back in the bottom half of the first. Eric Sogard reached base on a fielding error and scored on Jeff Larish double down the left-field line knotting it up at 1-1.
Iowa, who currently holds the best overall record in the Pacific Coast League at 70-53, recaptured the lead in the fourth inning. Designated hitter Bryan LaHair, drew a two-out walk and was aboard when Marquez Smith homered to left field off starter Brett Tomko, to put the cubs up 3-1.
The River Cats best offense came in the three-run, four-hit sixth inning. With one out, Chris Carter, back from his short stint with the Athletics, belted a solo home run to left field. His 28th of the season cut the Cubs lead to one run.
Jeff Baisley drew a two-out walk and advanced to third on an Adrian Cardenas double to right field to keep the inning alive. Michael Taylor delivered with a clutch two-run single to left field and gave the River Cats a 4-3 lead.
Dallas McPherson gave Sacramento a much-needed insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when he deposited a solo home run over the left-center field wall.
Down two runs, the Cubs refused to go quietly in the ninth. LaHair scored on catcher Chris Robinson’s single, and they looked for more.
After River Cats Reliever Michael Benacka replaced Jon Hunton, Iowa shortstop Matt Camp laid down a sacrifice bunt moving base runners to second and third base with one out. To get a force at any bag, Benacka intentionally walked lead off batter Sam Fuld to load the bases.
In exciting fashion, Benacka struck out Adduci and Snyder to leave the bases full and preserve the one run margin for Sacramento. It was Benacka’s fifth save of the season in support of River Cats winning pitcher Fernando Hernandez (5-6). Starter Jay Jackson, (9-8) took the loss for Iowa.
Of the eight Sacramento hits, other than Sogard, each starter had one hit each. The River Cats remain 2.0 games in back of the Fresno Grizzlies in the PCL Pacific South Division race.
Iowa, (Bibens-Dirkx 5-0) at Sacramento, (Mortensen 11-6) at Raley Field Wednesday 7:05 p.m. Series continues Thursday, Friday 7:05 p.m. start times.
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