River Cats Stave Off Elimination

Piedra homered for Sacramento.

With their backs against the wall, the Sacramento River Cats came out fighting on Friday night in front of a loud home crowd. Sacramento fought back from an early 3-1 deficit to beat the Salt Lake Bees and force a Game Four by a score of 7-4.

Sacramento hasn't been short on offense during their first two playoff games. On Friday, they got some good hitting again, and this time they paired it with some solid pitching en route to a 7-4 win. Starter Brad Knox pitched into the eighth inning and earned the win for Sacramento, which forced a Game Four with the win.

Four River Cats' batters homered in the game. Daric Barton hit his third homer of the series, while Lou Merloni added his second and Danny Putnam and Jorge Piedra added their first homers of the playoffs. Barton and Piedra have been the offensive leaders for the River Cats in this series. They have seven and five RBIs, respectively, in the three games.

Knox wasn't perfect in his start, but he was good enough to keep Salt Lake from mounting yet another comeback. The Sacramento right-hander allowed three runs through four innings, but then settled down and didn't allow another run until the eighth. He would finish having allowed four runs in 7.1 innings. Knox saved the River Cats from having to get significant innings from their now depleted bullpen. Julio Manon pitched the final 1.2 innings of the game to earn the save for Sacramento. He has pitched very well in the series thus far.

Gregorio Petit led the River Cats' offense with three hits and two runs scored in the game. Merloni added two hits, two runs and two RBI for Sacramento, which had only nine hits, but they made them count. Five of the nine hits went for extra bases.

Sacramento will try to force a decisive Game Five on Saturday at Raley Field. The River Cats will send Kazuhito Tadano to the mound to face Jonathan Rouwenhorst.

Other Notes:

* The A's claimed New York Yankees outfielder Kevin Thompson off of waivers on Friday and added him to the active roster. The A's moved Travis Buck from the 15- to the 60-day DL to make room for Thompson on the 40-man roster. Thompson hit .190 in 13 games with the Yankees and .281 with an 809 OPS for the Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees this season. Thompson also stole 24 bases for the S-W Yankees. He hit .300 in 19 games with New York in 2006. Thompson is a Texas native. He will turn 28 later this month.

* A's third baseman Eric Chavez had successful shoulder surgery on Friday. Dr. Lewis Yocum reportedly removed loose bodies and repaired a damaged triceps of Chavez.

* Dallas Braden made a relief appearance for the A's on Friday, pitching a scoreless inning in Texas.

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