Oakland A's MLN: Rough Start To Finals

The Sacramento River Cats and the Midland Rockhounds both got off to poor starts in their respective league finals on Tuesday night. We have a wrap-up of the action inside...

Sacramento Drops Close One

The Sacramento River Cats' red-hot bats were cooled for at least one night by a rainy Memphis evening and a stellar Redbirds' pitching staff. Chris Gissell and the River Cats' staff was nearly as good, but one mistake was the difference, as Sacramento dropped a 1-0 decision in the PCL finals opener.

Sacramento scored 26 runs over the last two games of their first-round playoff series against Tacoma. However, they managed only five hits and no runs in the loss. The River Cats did have their chances to score. They walked four times and benefited from two Memphis errors, but went 0-8 with runners on base and left 10 runners on.

The game began after a 90 minute rain delay, but Memphis starter Jaime Garcia was on his game despite the wait. He tossed 6.2 scoreless frames, allowing only three hits and three walks. Four Memphis relievers combined to throw the last 2.1 innings to close out the win.

The only run of the game came in the sixth inning when Gissell allowed a solo homerun to David Freese. Gissell pitched 6.1 innings, allowing only that solo homerun. Michael Benacka kept the River Cats close by holding the Redbirds scoreless in 1.2 innings of relief.

The River Cats had a chance to tie the game with two-outs in the ninth when Gregorio Petit singled and stole second base, but Chris Denorfia was called out on strikes to end the game.

Sacramento will have a chance to even the series tomorrow night in Memphis.

Poor Defense Dooms Midland In Opener

The Texas League finals opener was a game that the Midland Rockhounds would just soon forget. Midland committed five errors and had a passed ball, leading to four unearned runs in the 11-5 loss to Northwest Arkansas. The Rockhounds also struggled on offense, leaving 13 runners on-base and going 4-15 with runners in scoring position.

Midland starter Arnold Leon was stuck with the loss despite not giving up an earned run in four innings. In the third and fourth innings, runs would score off of Leon thanks directly to two-out fielding errors.

The bullpen struggled for Midland. Justin Friend allowed three earned runs (four total) in one inning, Jason Fernandez allowed three runs in two innings and Steve Sharpe allowed a run in two innings.

The Rockhounds managed only one run until the ninth inning. That run came on a solo homer by Josh Donaldson, his third of the playoffs. Midland would show some signs of life in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring four times. Shane Peterson, Donaldson, Archie Gilbert, Jemile Weeks and Corey Wimberly each had multi-hit games and Corey Brown walked three times in the loss.

Midland will host Game Two on Wednesday in hopes of evening the series at a game apiece.