River Cats’ streak ends as they drop first game of August
Albuquerque, NM – The Sacramento River Cats (53-62) came into Saturday night’s contest against the Albuquerque Isotopes (49-64) winners of six straight games and an undefeated record in the month of August. In their 9-2 loss tonight however, the River Cats weren’t able to continue their hot hitting while their pitching let the game slip away late.
Right-hander Clayton Blackburn was on the bump for Sacramento making his 19th start of the season and fourth against Albuquerque. Blackburn has struggled on the road this year to the tune of a 6.12 ERA away from Raley Field but pitched well early in this one. Through the first six innings, the 23-year-old allowed two runs on six hits while leaving the Isotopes 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Blackburn hit a skid in his seventh and final inning, however, allowing a leadoff double to start the trouble. A sacrifice bunt and single gave the ‘Topes a 3-2 lead, and things snowballed from there. One out later Albuquerque’s best hitter Jordan Patterson stepped to the dish with one on and two out. The clean-up hitter blasted a two-run home run off the righty, extending the lead to 5-2.
Of the five earned runs by Blackburn tonight, four came with two outs. He finished the night facing a season-high 32 batters, and tied his season-high with eight strikeouts. The game would get away from the River Cats late, as left-hander Steven Okert was roughed up for four runs on five hits during his eighth inning appearance.
The offensive highlight came courtesy of third baseman Grant Green tonight, who hit his seventh home run for Sacramento in the fourth inning, a solo-shot which at the time gave the River Cats a 2-1 lead. That would be all the scoring, however, as over their next five innings Sacramento scattered just four hits.
Centerfielder Austin Slater, right fielder Chris Denorfia and Green all registered two-hit games and catcher Tony Sanchez tallied in his first RBI with the club on a sacrifice fly. Tonight’s two runs were the fewest in a game so far this month, a month in which the River Cats lead the Pacific Coast League in batting average (.344) and home runs (9). The offensive couldn’t emulate the success of their 5-0 record this month, finishing the game tonight 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving nine men on base.
Sacramento will hit the road for an early flight tomorrow morning to Tacoma. Right-hander Chris Stratton (8-5, 4.81) will take the hill for the River Cats in the opener and is 1-0 with a 7.20 ERA in two starts against the Rainiers this season. Tacoma will send righty Zach Lee (0-4, 5.74) to the mound, who has a 6.00 ERA against Sacramento in two starts. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. (PT) and can be heard live online at rivercats.com.
Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations