The Sacramento River Cats’ play has paralleled with the heat in the last week, with the team winning five straight games.
The Tacoma Rainiers came into town Saturday and were on pace to leave Sacramento winless, but fortunately for them, the River Cats found themselves down early and were unable to show off any of the late magic that was displayed the night before.
The Tacoma Rainiers were 40-38 coming into the mid-day game against the River Cats, who have found themselves 41-38 and seven games out of first place in the PCL South Division.
On the mound the Rainiers had the early advantage, as their starter Luke French was currently 8-2 with a 2.27 ERA. French leads his team in wins and innings pitched.
While Tacoma brought out its best arm, Sacramento placed one of its newest pitchers on the mound, Travis Banwart.
Banwart made it six innings in his first appearance as a River Cat, only allowing five hits and three runs, ultimately receiving the win. Although Banwart struck out seven on Tuesday against the Rainiers, his efforts didn’t suffice.
The Rainiers got on the board early and often, scoring in the first, third, fourth and then again in the sixth.
In the first inning, second baseman Jack Hannahan homered to right field giving the Rainiers the early lead.
The River Cats quickly pounced back with two runs of their own. Corey Wimberly and Steve Tolleson scored before the side was retired.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Rainiers quickly tied it up in the third. Hannahan was walked to start off the inning and would soon touch home after designated hitter Brad Nelson brought him in with a line drive single to center. Left fielder Matt Tuiasosopo was also able to score after a pop-up to right field.
While the Rainiers continued to chip away, the River Cats remained were unable to add any additional runs until the fifth inning.
In the fifth, Michael Taylor sent one to right fielder Tuiasosopo, and it bounced into the warning track leading to a Taylor triple to start off the inning. The River Cats were able to bring him in with a sacrifice fly, but no River Cat runs would follow, which halted the River Cats’ win streak at five games.
The River Cats have Wednesday off before their next series against Fresno. Fresno is currently seven games ahead of Sacramento, and with the upcoming series against the Grizzlies, the River Cats have a chance to move that much closer to first place. Fresno will come in hungry, as they have lost their last three games and are now 3-7 in their last 10 outings.