The Sacramento River Cats won their first four game series of the season, by downing the Salt Lake Bees on Sunday, 7-2. After a slow start offensively through the first 3 games, the bats came alive on Sunday, pounding out 12 hits.
There was some doubt that any sort of offense would get going in Sunday’s game after Saturday’s marathon game which lasted 18 innings and ended at 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. The River Cats won the five and half hour game with a walk off grand slam by Jarrett Parker. By the time the 18th inning had come up, the Salt Lake City Bees had exhausted all of their available pitching and the resorted to bringing in the backup catcher, Charlie Cutler, to pitch. Cutler fed the River Cats a steady dose of 68-71 mph fastballs. The crowd had dwindled down at that point to a few hundred diehard fans eager to see this game end with the River Cats victorious.
After giving up a single and a couple of walks, the bases were loaded for Jarrett Parker. River Cats manager Bob Mariano said “before Parker went to the plate, hitting coach Steve Decker told him to scoot closer to the plate and really turn in to one.” Parker took that message to heart, lifting the ball out over the outfield fence, emptying the bases for a walk off grand slam.
Building off of Saturday’s heroics, the River Cats still had plenty of offense still left in the tank for Sunday’s series finale. First baseman Adam Duvall struck first, showing off his impressive strength by crushing a 4th inning opposite field home run, his second homer of the season.
The rest of the major lifting was done by backup catcher Guillermo Quiroz. Quiroz got the start after finding out Andrew Susac would miss at least 3 games after taking a foul ball off his throwing hand in the 6th inning of Saturday night’s contest. Quiroz led the way for the River Cats, going 2 for 4 with 4 runs batted in.
A three run fourth inning, and two runs plated in both the sixth and eighth innings accounted for Sacramento’s seven runs. Salt Lake scored both their runs in the fifth on a two-run home run by catcher Jett Bandy.
After the bullpen was depleted from the previous night’s game, starting pitcher Jake Dunning (1-0) gave the team a very much needed quality start, going 6 innings only giving up 2 runs on the fifth inning home run. Juan Gutierrez pitched two scoreless innings, yielding two hits and striking out three. Mike Broadway closed out the game with a perfect ninth.
Alex Sanabia (0-1) took the loss for Salt Lake, allowing 8 hits and 2 walks in 5 innings of work. He did strike out 7 batters.
The Sacramento River Cats took over first place in the Pacific Coast League with a record of 3 wins and 1 loss. They return to the field Monday night against the Las Vegas 51’s, the New York Mets AAA affiliate.