Grizzlies edge Cats in Highway 99 Showdown

Fresno continued what it started a week ago, winning their fourth game in a row against Sacramento.

Guillermo Moscoso continued what he has done all season, pitching well for Sacramento and Oakland. However, it wouldn’t be enough as Fresno came away with the 3-2 victory before 10,511 fans at Raley Field.

The right-hander struck out nine while allowing five hits and three runs (two earned) on Thursday night. Moscoso started the season in Sacramento, going 3-2 with a 4.02 ERA before making the jump to the Majors on May 24. In Oakland, he had a 3-4 record with an outstanding 2.16 ERA. Thursday night was Moscoso’s second start against Fresno, as he pitched against the Grizzlies last August, allowing one run and striking out three in 6.1 innings.

Both teams seemed rusty coming off the All-Star break, as each team committed three errors on the night. Sacramento committed two errors on the same play in the first inning, allowing Fresno shortstop Edgar Gonzalez to score from first on an infield single. Fresno committed three errors, as well, but the two they had in the third inning cost them.

Matt Carson walked early in the inning and reached third on a throwing error, following a single by Jermaine Mitchell. In the ensuing at-bat, Eric Sogard reached on a force attempt but a fielding error by Fresno’s Brandon Belt allowed Carson to score. It wouldn’t be the River Cats’ last run, as Daric Barton drove in Mitchell with a single to put Sacramento ahead, 2-1.

Despite a strong performance from Moscoso, two of the five hits he allowed were sent out of the park, one in the fourth and one in the sixth. Gonzalez hitting the game-tying home run before Belt sent one to the River Cats’ bullpen for a 3-2 lead in the sixth.

Belt’s home run would have cued a pitching move or at least a visit to the mound for most other pitchers, but Moscoso stayed in and struck out two of the next three batters.

Vinnie Chulk, Jerry Blevins and Fernando Cabrera pitched a combined three shutout innings, but Sacramento was unable to put another run on the board.

Adrian Cardenas and Sogard are still very confident despite losing four in a row against Fresno.

“From a team standpoint I think our record speaks for itself,” Cardenas said. “We’ve been a really good team from Day 1 and we’ve had so many ups and downs with (play movement), yet we still lead the division.”

Las Vegas’ win Thursday trimmed Sacramento’s division lead from 8.0 to 7.0 games.

“As a team we’re having a great season,” Cardenas said. “We went through a little cold streak there but we swept Las Vegas before the break putting us back where we were before. Our pitching had been outstanding and we continue to have guys coming down from the Big Leagues with (Josh) Outman, Moscoso, and Graham (Godfrey) so that’s always going to be helpful.”

The River Cats must win three in a row this weekend in order to win their first series against Fresno this season. If not, Sacramento will wait until the August 24-28 when they face Fresno the last time this season.

The River Cats look to get on track with right-hander Graham Godfrey (8-1, 2.32) and left-hander Josh Outman (5-1, 4.64) going Friday and Saturday for Sacramento.

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