Sunday, April 8, 2012 | 12:38 a.m.
The Sacramento River Cats scored four runs in the third inning and three more in the fifth to defeat the Las Vegas 51s 10-8 Saturday night at Cashman Field.
After the River Cats scored the opening run of the game in the top of the first on a Chris Carter RBI single to left field, Sacramento added to its lead with four runs on four hits in the third inning.
River Cats first baseman Daric Barton led off the inning with a line-drive single to right-center field, which was followed by an error on 51s second baseman Adeiny Hechavarria to give Sacramento two base runners.
Sacramento right fielder Michael Taylor took advantage of the Las Vegas miscue as he crushed a three-run home run over the left-field fence two batters later.
Following a double down the left-field line by catcher Derek Norris, third baseman Wes Timmons gave the River Cats a 5-0 lead on an RBI single to right field.
The 51s responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to cut into the Sacramento lead. Leadoff hitter Anthony Gose came all the way around to score following two throwing errors from the River Cats on the same play.
“He’s a very exciting player,” 51s manager Marty Brown said of Gose. “This club has a mix of speed with Anthony at the top of the order and Mike McCoy at the bottom of the order. Those guys put a lot of pressure on defenses. Sacramento didn’t handle the ball and we scored two runs on a ground ball to first.”
The River Cats added to their lead in the fifth inning with three runs on five hits, including four extra-base hits.
Norris led off the inning with a towering home run down the left-field line to give Sacramento a 6-3 lead.
Timmons followed with a double down the left-field line and Barton finished the power surge with a triple off the top of the right-field fence.
After Sacramento tallied two additional runs in the top of the eighth to take a 10-4 lead, the 51s mounted a rally in the bottom of the inning to narrow the gap.
51s third baseman Yan Gomes hammered a two-run single up the middle with two outs to trim the deficit to 10-8.
The rally came up short for the 51s though, as pinch hitter Chris Woodward struck out swinging on a check swing with two outs and the tying run at the plate.
Sacramento closer Merkin Valdez collected his first save of the season, hurling 1 1/3 hitless innings out of the bullpen.
River Cats starting pitcher Brad Peacock was credited with the victory after striking out six batters and allowing two earned runs in six innings on the mound.
“Peacock’s got a good arm,” Brown said. “He’s got a good fastball; he locates both in and away. He kept us off-balance with his change-up and he had a breaking ball that had a very good finish to it. He kept pressure on and kept throwing strikes.”
51s starting pitcher Bill Murphy took the loss as the left-hander surrendered seven hits and four earned runs in less than four innings of work.
After Sacramento took games 1 and 3 of the opening four-game series, the 51s look to even the series with a 12:05 p.m. matinee start on Sunday.
“We have a lot of issues we want to resolve,” Brown said. “We have young players here who are experiencing things for the first time at this level. It’s a long season. We’ll see these guys a lot. Tomorrow we try to even the series and move forward.”