Photo by Shawn Jonas
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Right-hander Chris Stratton demonstrated why he was a first round pick in 2012, shutting out Las Vegas 51s through eight dominant innings on Sunday. Despite the excellent performance, the 51s came back late to tie and ultimately handed Sacramento River Cats a 4-3 loss in 10 innings.
Stratton put on a brilliant show Sunday afternoon against the 51s, pitching eight shutout innings and allowing just 5 hits and no walks while striking out a personal season-high six. He threw 96 pitches in the outing, 64 of them for strikes, and did not allow a baserunner to reach second base. Stratton retired the final ten batters he faced.
The start was arguably the best by a River Cats pitcher this season, with Ty Blach’s 8.1 inning, 2-run outing in Colorado Springs the only other eight-inning start by a Sacramento pitcher this season. Stratton contributed at the plate, as well, picking up his first hit at the Triple-A level. Overall, he was 2-for-3 with two singles.
The River Cats threatened early with five singles through the first two innings, but were unable to produce. Their first run came on Ryan Lollis’ third-inning homer, a line-drive shot to right field to give Sacramento a one-run lead. Lollis went 3-for-4 with a home run, a walk, and two singles as the number three hitter in the lineup today.
Stratton watched from the bench as the 51s scrapped across a run in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. After an error – the River Cats’ first in four games – put the 51s’ Wilfredo Tovar at third with no outs in the inning, Brooks Conrad drove a sacrifice fly to center to score Tovar and tie the game at one.
The River Cats put two on the board in the tenth, taking a 3-1 lead on an RBI-single from Lollis and RBI-groundout from Darren Ford. Las Vegas refused to go away, though, scoring three times in the bottom of the inning on Anthony Recker’s two-run home run and an RBI-double by Conrad.
Today marked the River Cats’ ninth extra inning game, the most in the PCL. They are now 4-5 in extra-inning contests.
The River Cats will look to avoid the sweep in tomorrow’s finale against the 51s. Sacramento will send Clayton Blackburn (2-3, 4.23) to the mound, while Las Vegas will counter with Tyler Pill (2-4, 6.78). Blackburn hasn’t started for Sacramento since 6/9, but has made three relief appearances since then. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations