After fighting numerous travel obstacles to reach the west coast, the Oklahoma City RedHawks prevailed in the first game of their 13-game road trip with a 7-2 win over the Sacramento River Cats before 6,525 at Raley Field Thursday night.
The team was originally scheduled to travel to Sacramento Wednesday night, but severe weather in Dallas forced the team to leave early Thursday morning instead. Most of the team did not arrive into Sacramento until shortly before game time.
The River Cats got on the board three batters into the bottom of the first inning. Rehabbing Oakland A's outfielder Chris Young led off with a single and stole second base. After Young advanced to third on a ground out, Shane Peterson sent a base hit through the hole of a drawn-in right side of the infield to score Young and make it 1-0.
Still trailing 1-0 in the fourth, the RedHawks (24-15) tied the game. With two outs, Brandon Laird scored on a wild pitch by Sonny Gray to knot the score and snap a streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings by Gray.
Sacramento (22-18) was able to jump back in front in the bottom of the inning. Stephen Vogt hit a double on an 0-2 pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a sac bunt by Jemile Weeks. Jeremy Barfield followed with a sac fly to give the River Cats a 2-1 lead.
The RedHawks took their first lead in the seventh after some defensive miscues by the River Cats. With the bases loaded and two outs, Andy Simunic sent a pop up to shallow left field. Sacramento shortstop Hiro Nakajima went back and looked like he was going to make the catch before he was called off by the left fielder Barfield. Barfield dove for the ball and could not make the catch, allowing all three runners to score.
Simunic was credited with a three-run double. He advanced to third on a passed ball and the came home later on the play on a throwing error by Vogt. Simunic finished the game with a team-high three hits and three RBI.
Brett Wallace finished the scoring with a two-run double in the ninth. It was also the final hit of a 14-hit attack by the RedHawks.
After RedHawks starting pitcher Brett Oberholtzer left the game with one out in the fifth inning, the bullpen went the final 4.2 innings, holding the River Cats to no runs and one hit. Josh Zeid (3-0) picked up the win after going 1.1 innings.
Gray (4-2) pitched better than his final line indicated, but ended up with the loss. He allowed four runs—three earned—and eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 6.2 innings.
The RedHawks and River Cats continue their series at 9:05 p.m. central time Friday.