Hunter Pence Lifts Sacramento River Cats To 5-4 Win Over New Orleans Zephyrs

Susac, Stratton supply the rest for Sacramento

New Orleans, LA – The Sacramento River Cats (43-56) ended their eight-game road trip on a high note Thursday night in New Orleans, defeating the New Orleans Zephyrs (46-50) by the score of 5-4. The win not only earned the River Cats their sixth series win, but brought their record to 5-3 since the All-Star break thanks to some familiar faces.

Making his second rehab start with Sacramento was right fielder Hunter Pence, who suffered a setback in his last appearance July 16 against Round Rock. The San Francisco Giants star seemed no worse for wear, proving he was raring to go by launching a solo home run in his first at-bat of the game. The home run was Pence’s first with Sacramento since May 12 of last year.

The three-time All-Star was not done either, as Pence smacked a double in his next at-bat to leadoff the fourth inning before coming around to score. The right-handed slugger finished the night 2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored before being replaced in right field by veteran Chris Denorfia.

Not to be outdone was fellow fan-favorite Andrew Susac, who mashed his second home run in as many games in the winning effort. The talented backstop continued his hot hitting tonight, going 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. The Roseville-native showed off his defensive skills behind the dish as well, picking off Zephyrs’ catcher Tomas Telis to end the sixth inning.

Tonight marked Susac’s second time this month in which he has hit home runs in consecutive games and the fifth time in his last 10 games in which he has gone yard. The right-hander has been locked in at the plate this month as a whole, leading the team in RBI (13) and runs scored (11).

Right-hander Chris Stratton took care of the rest for Sacramento, putting forth another solid outing while picking up his seventh win in his last 10 starts. A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Stratton went six innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits while striking out four and didn’t allow a walk. Over his last three starts, Stratton has struck out 20 of the last 76 batters he has faced.

Jean Machi made things interesting in the ninth as he allowed one run before striking out Xavier Scruggs with the bases loaded to end the game. The save was Machi’s fifth with Sacramento and third on the road trip.

The River Cats will fly home to the friendly confines of Raley Field to open a four-game set against the El Paso Chihuahuas this weekend. Sacramento will send lanky right-hander Joan Gregorio (2-6, 5.92) to the mound and El Paso will counter with their own righty in Michael Kelly (5-0, 3.23). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. (PT) and can be heard live online at rivercats.com.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

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