May 22, 2015 11:42 PM PT
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A close game started to unravel for the Sacramento River Cats in the late innings as their normally dominant bullpen struggled in Friday night’s 8-6 loss to the Memphis Redbirds. The offense received numerous contributions from throughout the lineup, but the Redbirds’ three-run ninth proved too much for the River Cats to overcome.
The River Cats battled and managed to take a 5-4 lead into the eighth inning in what had been a back-and-forth affair with six lead changes in the first seven innings. The River Cats bullpen, however, struggled, as Juan Gutierrez and Cody Hall combined to allow 4 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks. It was the first time this season that the River Cats have lost when leading after seven innings. Prior to tonight, the team was 9-0 at home and 17-0 overall when taking a lead into the eighth inning.
Adam Duvall, Hector Sanchez, and starter Kevin Correia each hit a home run in the loss. Duvall’s was a colossal two-run shot to left and his 12th of the year. For Sanchez, it was his first Triple-A home run of the season. Overall, he was 2-for-5 with the solo home run and an RBI-single in his River Cats debut. For Correia, it was his first ever professional home run. The veteran pitcher had gone almost 400 at bats as a professional baseball player without leaving the yard before tonight’s homer.
It was a good night for the offense overall, as well, despite being unable to overcome the late Memphis rally. Eight of the nine starters picked up a hit while Duvall, Travis Ishikawa, and Sanchez picked up two apiece. Five different starters scored a run and four different starters recorded an RBI.
Correia and the River Cats fell behind early in a rough defensive first inning. Two errors in the top of the first allowed the Redbirds to jump out to a 1-0 lead, but Duvall countered almost immediately in the bottom of the first as he absolutely crushed a two-run home run to left field and put the River Cats ahead 2-1.
Sacramento added another in the third on an Ehire Adrianza RBI-single before Memphis tied things up in the fourth with two runs of their own. The teams then traded runs, with Sacramento scoring once in the fifth and seventh innings, taking the lead both times. Memphis refused to give in, countering with a run in the sixth and eighth innings to keep the game tied. The Redbirds’ three-run rally in the ninth proved to be the difference.
Kevin Correia (0-1, 4.40) took his fourth no decision in five starts, throwing 6 innings and allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits while walking 3 and striking out 4. Marcus Hatley (2-1, 1.57) picked up the win in relief for the Redbirds while Sacramento’s Cody Hall (1-1, 2.57) suffered his first loss of the season.
The River Cats will take the field tomorrow night behind their right-hander Austin Fleet (2-3, 6.59). Opposing him for the Redbirds will be southpaw John Gast (1-3, 4.63). It is Princess & Pirates night at the park tomorrow night, as well as a Sutter Health Fireworks night. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A affiliate of the 2014 World Champion San Francisco Giants. The team plays at Raley Field in West Sacramento, consistently voted one of the top ballparks in America. River Cats Season Tickets, Mini-Plans, and Flex Plans can be purchased for the 2015 season by calling the River Cats Ticket Hotline at (916) 371-HITS (4487). For more information about the River Cats, visit www.rivercats.com<http://sacramento.rivercats.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t105>. For information on other events at Raley Field, visit www.raleyfield.com<http://www.raleyfield.com/>.