Photos by Shawn Jonas
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento’s starter Clayton Blackburn led the River Cats in their 4-2 win over the visiting Las Vegas 51s Wednesday night at Raley Field. The right-hander tossed seven shutout innings and added to the offensive with a solo home run.
In his 13th start this season, Blackburn (6-3, 3.50) stifled the 51s, scattering five hits across seven innings. He walked just one and struck out five while throwing 63 of his 94 pitches for strikes.
“I felt good tonight. I was throwing a good sinker to both sides of the plate and my curveball was pretty sharp for me tonight,” Blackburn said. “My last couple bullpens I’ve been working on my direction and on finishing my pitches, and I think it’s really started to show these last few games.”
Blackburn has won his last three starts, posting a 1.80 ERA over 20 innings and striking out 10. He has now gone seven innings in back-to-back starts.
The right-hander also contributed with his bat, slugging the first home run of his professional career.
“He threw a fastball down and over the plate, which is about the only place I can hit one out of the ballpark. The stars aligned, you know, and that was, I think, as hard as I can hit a ball.”
The solo shot was crushed to straight away center and gave the River Cats a 2-0 lead in the third. To Blackburn’s memory, it was his first since his “senior year of high school.”
The home run continued a recent trend for River Cats starters, who have been hitting the ball all over the field as of late. In their last four games, Sacramento’s starters are hitting a combined .556 (5-for-9) with a home run, five RBI, and a sacrifice.
The rest of the offense came through for Sacramento tonight, as well, scoring four times on 10 hits. Adam Duvall put the River Cats up 1-0 in the second with a home run – his 26th of the season – to left field. Ryan Lollis was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Everth Cabrera went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Mike Broadway closed things out, making it look easy as he struck out the side in the top of the ninth to record his ninth save of the season. The hard-throwing right-hander touched 98 mph with his fastball and put away the 51s with a tight 87 mph slider. Broadway is now a perfect 9/9 in save opportunities with an 0.95 ERA for Sacramento this season.
With the series evened at one, the River Cats will look to take the lead with a win tomorrow behind their left-hander Nik Turley (4-5, 5.37). The southpaw is coming off a rough start, but recently turned in a six-inning no-hit performance at home against the Fresno Grizzlies. Opposite him will be Las Vegas’ RHP Luis Cessa (7-1, 5.05). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and the game can be heard online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320.
Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations