Sacramento's Comeback Falls Short
Down 0-2 and heading out on the road, the Sacramento River Cats were a long-shot to advance to the Pacific Coast League finals. The River Cats didn't give up easily, however. Sacramento won Games 3 and 4 at Safeco Field (home of the Tacoma Rainiers' parent club, the Seattle Mariners) to force a decisive Game 5. The River Cats couldn't make it three games in a row, however, as they fell to the Rainiers, 4-1.
Clayton Mortensen and Ryan Feierabend dueled early, as the game was scoreless into the fifth inning. That was when Sacramento's Chris Carter launched a solo homerun to give the River Cats an early lead. Carter returned from the disabled list for this series and appeared in Games 3 and 5.
The River Cats' lead would last only until the 6th inning, when Tacoma would scratch across a run against Mortensen. Lenny DiNardo would take over in the sixth and strand two runners. He wasn't able to keep the Rainiers off of the scoreboard in the 7th, although it wasn't entirely his fault.
DiNardo allowed a single to Justin Smoak to lead off the inning. Smoak was forced on a bunt ground-out by Mike Wilson. With Wilson at first, Jose Yepez hit a groundball up the middle. Shortstop Eric Sogard fielded the ball and flipped it to secondbaseman Corey Wimberly who then threw to first. It appeared to be an inning-ending double-play, but the runner was called safe at second. Unfortunately, first-baseman Tom Everidge thought the runner was called out at second and that the River Cats had completed the inning-ending double-play. He flipped the ball into the stands. Because the inning wasn't over, the runner was awarded two bases, scoring what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Tacoma would add some insurance in the bottom of the 8th when Matt Mangini hit a two-run homer off of DiNardo. DiNardo was hung with the loss.
Scroll down to view photos from the first game of Sacramento's playoff series.
Kane County Drops Game Two, Heads To Another Do-Or-Die Game
After winning Game One at home, the Kane County Cougars headed to Clinton, Iowa, to try to take Game Two and punch their ticket to the Midwest League finals. Despite the second Michael Choice homer in the last two days, the Cougars fell to the LumberKings, 6-2. The series will be decided tomorrow in a win-or-go-home Game Three.
Choice, the A's top pick this season, hit his second homer in as many games for Kane County, giving the Cougars an early 1-0 lead. It was the only lead Kane County would have in the game. Choice finished with two hits and he has four hits in eight at-bats in his first two games at the Low-A level.
Kenneth Smalley got the start for Kane County and he allowed three runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings. Bo Schultz also struggled, allowing three runs in 1.2 innings. Ryan Doolittle and Aaron Larsen combined to toss three scoreless innings, but it wasn't enough to get the Cougars back into the game.
Infielder Leonardo Gil left the game with an apparent knee injury.
Sacramento Playoff Photos
All photos by James Venes/jamesvenes.com
Corey Wimberly leaps to high-five with Big Jon Hunton.
The Sacramento starting nine for Game One.
Clay Mortensen struggled in Game One but pitched well in Game Five.
Travis Buck and Tony DeFrancesco celebrate Buck's homer.
Adrian Cardenas throws through the raindrops.
Corey Wimberly makes the play at third.
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