After being shut down at the plate over the first three games of the series, the Sacramento River Cats offense re-emerged and plated seven runs in a 7-4 win over the Oklahoma City RedHawks Tuesday night at Raley Field.
Through the first three games of the series, the River Cats (73-58) were held to just four runs and 11 hits. Tuesday night they scored seven times and totaled 12 hits to avoid a sweep at the hands of the RedHawks.
Although the RedHawks (68-64) fell in the series finale, they still took three of four games from Sacramento and finished a successful road trip with a 6-2 record. First-place Omaha also lost Tuesday night, keeping the RedHawks within two games of the division lead.
The River Cats scored four times in the second inning, matching their entire output for the series up to that point. Colin Walsh started the scoring with a two-run single. Rehabbing Oakland A's outfielder Craig Gentry added a sac fly, and Nick Buss finished the rally with a two-out RBI single.
The RedHawks responded with two runs in the third. Leading off the inning, Max Stassi connected on his first home run since June 3. Preston Tucker brought home another run on a fielder's choice to make it 4-2.
The River Cats had the bases empty with two outs in the bottom of the third when they rallied for another run. Four straight batters reached base, including a bases-loaded walk by Ryan Ortiz to push Sacramento's lead back to three runs.
Shane Peterson added to the lead in the sixth when he connected on a two-run homer.
The RedHawks answered with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh on RBI singles by Jonathan Villar and L.J. Hoes, pulling Oklahoma City within 7-4.
Unfortunately the RedHawks would get no closer, as River Cats relievers Joe Savery and Jeremy McBryde combined to retire the final seven batters of the game. McBryde pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 15th save.
Sacramento starting pitcher Zach Neal tossed 6.2 innings and earned the win. Neal (6-7) allowed four runs (two earned) and 10 hits. He finished with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Although the RedHawks starting pitching had been tremendous of late, Luis Cruz stumbled and could not make it through three innings. Cruz (1-1) allowed five runs and six hits, with four walks and one strikeout over 2.2 innings.
The RedHawks return to Oklahoma City to begin an eight-game homestand Wednesday night when they meet the El Paso Chihuahuas at 7:05 p.m.