July 24, 2015 – 9:11pm
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Sacramento River Cats kicked off their last road trip of July Friday night, defeating the Albuquerque Isotopes by the final score of 7-2. Clayton Blackburn outlasted Albuquerque’s starter, Rockies’ top prospect Jon Gray, earning his fifth win of the year thanks to some late fielding mishaps by the Isotopes.
Blackburn (5-3, 3.84) pitched what is arguably the best start of his Triple-A career Friday night. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 3 over 7 strong innings of work. The start set a new season high for innings pitched (previously 5.0), and tied a season best for runs and earned runs allowed (2).
Not only was he dominant on the hill, but Blackburn also helped out his own cause with the bat. With one on and two out in the fourth, Albuquerque pitcher Jon Gray intentionally walked Carlos Triunfel to face Blackburn. On a 1-1 pitch, the right-hander delivered by grounding a single into right field to drive in a run.
While many believed he would be activated for San Francisco’s weekend series against the Oakland Athletics, Nori Aoki was in the River Cats lineup Friday to make his third rehab appearance. The left fielder played seven full innings, and went 0-for-4 from the plate.
In the top of the eighth, the River Cats got a great opportunity to steal the momentum as they loaded the bases with just one out for the second time of the night. Sacramento couldn’t convert in their first opportunity, but back-to-back errors from shortstop Christian Adames and a sharp RBI single from Adam Duvall allowed 5 runs to score, giving the River Cats a 7-2 advantage. Duvall went 3-for-5 on the night, driving in 3 runs to give him 70 RBIs (third in PCL) on the season.
Albuquerque’s Gray (4-6, 4.53) was a tough opponent for the River Cats. The right-hander pitched 5 innings, and in that time he allowed just 2 runs on 8 hits, walking 3 and striking out 5. Nelson Gonzalez (3-3, 2.40) took the loss after pitching just 1 inning of relief. Gonzalez allowed 5 runs, but just one of them was earned.
Left-hander Josh Osich pitched a perfect eighth inning for the River Cats. Osich was making his first appearance since returning from his Major League debut. In 9 appearances with the Giants, Osich posted a 1-0 record with a perfect 0.00 ERA.
Sacramento will hit the field again tomorrow night, when they send the hot left-hander Nik Turley (4-4, 4.89) to the mound. Turley is 3-2 in his last five starts with a 2.00 ERA and 25 strikeouts. Opposing him from the Isotopes will be righty Boone Whiting (2-4, 5.40). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. (PT) and can be heard live online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320
Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations