It seemed like just another week of Sacramento River Cats baseball, until Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle dropped a bomb on Athletics and River Cats fans: a rumor that the River Cats were interested in testing their “free agency” when their agreement with their major league affiliate Oakland A’s ends at the end of the 2014 season. And who else would the Cats attempt to link up with than, yes, you guessed it, the San Francisco Giants.
The River Cats have long been the top of their Pacific Coast League, in attendance as well as record, but it seems that isn’t enough. If A’s fans thought they only had to worry about losing their Oakland franchise, they’ve been mistaken. The Cats and the A’s have been the perfect big brother-little brother relationship since 2000, when the River Cats came to Sacramento. The A’s have scouted well, brought talent into Sacramento and turned that talent into astonishing stories. Players coming from, seemingly nowhere, to not only become starters, but All Stars and even Cy Young winners. But for now, let’s stick to the on-field play (Read more about the former here.)
The week started with the River Cats wrapping up their sweep of the Salt Lake Bees. After earning the save in Monday’s 7-6 win, Evan Scribner got himself the victory in Sacramento’s 10-9 win over the Bees. Another 9th inning victory, with the hero of the game being third baseman Alden Carrithers, who hit the walk off single in the 9th and went 3 for 5 in the game.
After a day off, the Cats continued their late-inning, winning-ways on Thursday against the Tacoma Rainiers, with a 5-4 11th inning walk-off coming from Jose Martinez with the bases loaded. Jose Flores earned his second win of the season. Fans were able to keep the cardiac defibrillators in their cars on Friday, when the Cats opened the game with a seven-spot in the first inning on their way to an 11-5 win. The Cats overpowered the Rainiers with 14 hits. After starting pitcher Arnold Leon gave up four runs in the top of the second, which gave Tacoma a glimmer of hope, he shut them down for the next four innings.
Leon moved to 3-1 on the season and finished the game after 6 2/3 innings, five earned runs and seven Ks. Carrithers had an other solid performance pacing the Rivercats offense with three hits and two ribbys. Catcher Stephen Vogt, who played in his fourth game after a month long absense had his second consecutive multi-hit game going 2 for 5 in the series opener and 2-4 with three runs on Friday against the Rainiers (Vogt is batting 7 for 21 since returning).
Hitting Performance of the Week: Jose Martinez went 4 for 5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, and a BB. Martinez also had the game winning single in the 11th inning win over Tacoma on Thursday.
On Saturday, the River Cats attempted to come from behind once again. Entering the bottom of ninth down 5-1, the Cats failed to rally for another victory, falling 5-4. Zach Neal took the loss after giving up four runs in five innings of work. On Sunday, Sacramento bounced back earning the series victory with a 6-1 win. Seven of the nine starters got hits and four of the starters had two-hit games. The River Cats now sit at a season best, five games over at 24-19, first place in their division, with a half game lead over the Reno Aces.
Pitching Performance of the Week: Relief pitcher Jeremy McBryde with 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 5 Ks in Thursday’s 5-4 win.
Additionally, Joe Savery, who joined the A’s last week was sent back down as the A’s snatched LHP Jeff Francis off waivers from Cincinatti on Sunday. Also, first baseman Daric Barton was DFA by Oakland and, after clearing waivers, was sent down to the River Cats. It will be Barton’s ninth season with Sacramento.