River Cats looking to gain momentum

With the River Cats’ win over the Iowa Cubs Wednesday night, Sacramento was able to move within one game of first place.

While Sacramento handled business at Raley Field Wednesday night, the division-leading Fresno Grizzlies fell to Omaha.

After his short stint in Oakland, Chris Carter was able to join the Cats to start the series against Iowa. While he was gone, the River Cats went 3-4, scoring two or less runs in three of those games.

On Tuesday, Carter hit his 28th homer of the season, putting him in third place for home runs, third in RBIs, and tied for third in runs scored. Carter is also fourth in strikeouts with 126, and that part of his game is what brought him back to Sacramento so early as he went 0-19 with six strikeouts in the week he played for the Athletics.

Coming into the game, the Iowa Cubs are one of the strongest teams in the Pacific Coast League, boasting a 70-53 record – the best in the league.

Iowa sent one of its top pitching prospects to the mound Wednesday night, looking to tie the series at a game apiece.

Right hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx had an astounding 5-0 record with an ERA just under 2.

The River Cats also sent out their best pitcher, righty Clayton Mortenson, who has 11 wins on the season and 99 strikeouts.

Although the night started off slow for both clubs, the River Cats were able to light up the scoreboard first. The Cats were able to score after a single by Jeff Baisley that brought in center fielder Matt Carson.

Iowa followed suit, scoring from a home run by Jonathan Mota in the top of the fifth.

The River Cats got hot in the fifth, with Carson able to steal second base. With Carson in scoring position, newcomer Mike Larish brought him in with a single to left-center.

After a Carter strikeout and questionable base running by Larish, Sacramento was still able to put some runs on the board.

With Dallas McPherson and Baisley on, second baseman Adrian Cardenas brought in both of them to give the River Cats a 4-1 lead. The last run of the game came in the eighth inning.

Mortenson was given the win (12) to go along with his seven strikeouts, and Justin James was awarded the save.

Iowa starting pitcher Bibens-Dirkx was given his first loss of the season.

This was a game that the River Cats needed, and it’s play like this that will find them a spot in next month’s playoffs.

“We’ve got to keep playing like were playing, playing hard and playing solid baseball,” Wimberly said. “Everyone (is) pulling together as a team in order to make things happen.”

The River Cats continue the series tonight at 7:05 p.m.

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