The Sacramento River Cats took the field tonight at home after a 8-game road trip. They faced the Albuquerque Isotopes, the AAA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The two teams have faced off for 4-games in New Mexico already splitting the series at 2 games a piece. With both teams a few games back in both of their divisions. They were both very optimistic at the opportunity to get a good streak started tonight and start making up some ground in the standings.
Right-handed pitcher Clayton Blackburn (3-3) started the game Saturday night for Sacramento and what a performance he put on. Blackburn had been coming on as of late and this night he was really on a roll. He started off hot throwing 10 pitches in the first inning, all of them strikes. He kept the momentum going and incredibly had 7 strikeouts through 3 innings only giving up one hit, which was a triple to Jordan Patterson. Blackburn would only give up one more hit and finishing his night with 6 innings pitched, giving up 2-hits, walking 2,and striking out 7. The right-hander looked very sharp with his control while was just painting the corners for his 6 innings pitched.
The Albuquerque starting pitcher did not fare so well. Unfortunately he didn’t even get the opportunity to have a good game. RHP Shane Carle from Santa Cruz, Ca. started the game tonight for the Isotopes. The second batter he faced, Ramiro Pena smashed a 416 foot home run. His fourth home run of the season and his 19th RBI. The next batter he faced would take him out of the game. The newly called up River Cat , Austin Slater, drilled a line drive in which Carle did not have time to react to. He did not have time to deflect the pitch or get out the way. He was struck directly right behind the ear on the right side of his head. The ball bounced so squarely off of his head that it landed about 60 feet away in right field. Everyone in the stadium froze with anxiety hoping that this will not affect the pitcher. Amazingly Carle stayed on his feet. At first he reacted as he was supposed to finish the play then he froze. He stood there with his bell rung as the Isotope trainer ran out to check on him. Then even more amazingly with the trainer holding a towel to his head where he was struck, he walked off of the field. We will have more updates on the condition and status of Shane Carle tomorrow. In these situations baseball is kind of secondary as the health of the athletes is always more important.
As to the rest of the game, the River Cats pitching staff would hold firm and complete what Blackburn started coming up with a team shut out. The Isotope pitching staff would throw a shut out for the rest of game as well but Ramiro Pena’s first inning home run would be enough to to give Sacramento game 1of this 4-game series.
RHP Chris Heston will get the call for the River Cats against Isotopes RHP Jordan Lyles in game two of this 4 game series. This will be a day game starting at 1pm.
By Joe Vicory