There are few things as relaxing as going to a game at the ball park, and after a week of finals, that was exactly what I needed. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen when this one got started.
Before the game I was able to enjoy a great meal served in the press box, which had a choice of brownies or cookies for dessert. I went with the cookies, four out of the four times. Sorry Mom. I also dropped a dollar in the home run cup, but when I found that I picked “Michael Affronti”, I knew my odds of seeing that dollar again were slim.
On a night when the River Cats were commending our United States Military, defense wasn’t the strongest area for the ‘Cats. In honor of the special night, the River Cats suited up in their camouflage uniforms.
The Sacramento River Cats have struggled thus far with a 17-23 record going into the game. The visiting Memphis Redbirds have been able to keep above .500 with a 20-18 record, winning their last four games. Memphis’ return to Raley Field is the first visit since they claimed the Pacific Coast League title against the River Cats last fall.
The ‘Birds’ Brandon Dickson started on the mound and has played well on the road posting a 2.84 ERA early on in the season, hoping to add a win to his 2-3 record. River Cats’ right hander, Fernando Hernandez came into the game winless and after the tough start, would leave just as he came.
Hernandez struggled in the first inning, allowing 4 four hits and 3 three runs but finishing the inning with the strikeout. The ‘Cats’ bats’ kept up with the ‘Birds’ early on, but Memphis ended up flying circles around the River Cats.
It didn’t get any easier for Hernandez as he allowed a grand slam in the second. It was the second straight grand slam I witnessed at Raley Field, both coming off the visiting bats. If this continues, the River Cats may not want me back. What should have been two outs with a man on second, turned into a man on first and third and an eventual bases loaded situation after a fielding error by third baseman Adrian Cardenas. After three innings the Redbirds had nine runs on the board.
In the fourth inning, the Redbirds scored four runs with two outs after a home run by Mark Shorey that brought in three.
While Hernandez struggled to keep the ‘Birds off the bases, Dickson pitched a gem, allowing five hits, two runs, while striking out four. Hernandez left after four innings, serving up twelve hits and twelve runs. Not exactly the night he and his team were looking for to start the series.
Redbirds center fielder Jim Rapoport had two of his team’s final 13 runs and went four for six at the plate, continuing his streak of at least one hit in each game he has played for Memphis, since joining the team twelve days ago.
Nobody stood out for the River Cats, as nobody had more than one hit, one run, or one RBI. The River Cats hope to change their ways tonight against Memphis, in the second game of the series.
Tonight the series continues while the River Cats are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Raley Field. It’s Friday, so head on out to the park where you can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 desserts. Oakland Athletics’ Mark Ellis and Cocoa Crisp will be in the lineup tonight adding a boost to a struggling River Cats team.