Machi leaves Round Rock stranded in the ninth to save 3-2 win
Round Rock, TX – Chris Stratton brought the Express offense to a halt Saturday night, dominating game three of the series and setting a new career-high in strikeouts. The right-hander, with the support of his closer and just enough offense, lifted the Sacramento River Cats (40-54) to a 3-2 victory over the Round Rock Express (47-47).
In his first road start back with Sacramento, Chris Stratton proved his Major League abilities on the mound. The starter made a complete one-eighty from his previous start against Round Rock on August 18, 2015 in which he gave up three runs on four hits across four innings of work while walking four. Tonight, he managed seven strikeouts in the first four innings alone and finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts. He allowed just one run on three hits across his eight innings while walking one.
While Stratton seemed to be in control on the mound, his offense struggled to give him the key hit to break the game open. The Sacramento bats were steaming all night with nine hits through the first seven innings but were kept to just one run. Overall, they picked up 13 hits on the night, but left 12 men on base and were just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Through the first six innings of the night, the only scoring managed by either side came by way of the solo home run. The Cats were the first to strike in the fourth inning with a long shot by Austin Slater on an 0-2 pitch over the left-centerfield wall. The Express responded though, in the fifth, with a solo homer of their own off the bat of Joey Gallo.
The clutch hit from the River Cats finally came in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and one out. Gorkys Hernandez, the team-leader in RBI, banged a single out to left field, scoring Slater and Travis Ishikawa to break the tie and put the Cats up 3-1.
However, it was Jean Machi who saved the win for Stratton. Steven Okert took over in the ninth looking to close out the game, but gave up a run on three consecutive doubles and left with the bases loaded with one out. He handed the ball to Machi, who slammed the door shut and picked up his fourth save on the year by leaving all three Express runners stranded for the 3-2 win.
San Francisco Giants favorite Hunter Pence, who joined the River Cats on a rehab assignment this afternoon, logged two at bats before turning the right field reigns over to Ryan Lollis. The first pitch to Pence struck his left leg in the first inning, and then he singled in the third before being lifted for a pinch runner. The right fielder is tentatively scheduled to rehab with Sacramento for about a week as he recovers from a torn hamstring he suffered at the beginning of June.
Sacramento will send the tall right-hander Joan Gregorio (2-5, 5.63) to seize the series finale tomorrow night. Opposing him will be Round Rock’s right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (3-6, 4.98). First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. (PT) and can be heard live online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320.
Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations