Second game of series slated for Wednesday night at Sutter Health Park

A night that started with much excitement ended with disappointment for the Sacramento River Cats. On the heels of walking 14 batters at Salt Lake on Sunday, Sacramento pitching issued 12 more free passes and saw the El Paso Chihuahuas score the final five runs of the game as El Paso took the opener of the series by a final of 10-8 in front of a crowd of 9,548 at Sutter Health Park.

The River Cats got off to a fast start in the bottom of the first as Heliot Ramos and Brett Wisely hit back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners and Casey Schmitt grounded out to bring in the first run of the game. El Paso tied it in the top of the third. After River Cats starter Kyle Harrison issued back-to-back walks to start the inning, Nick Avila was summoned from the bullpen and saw Brett Sullivan hit a sac-fly to right that knotted the game at 1-1.


Harrison went two-plus innings in his Triple-A debut, allowing one run on one hit while walking four and striking out four.

The River Cats took the lead back in the bottom of the third on a two-run single by Ford Proctor that made it a 3-1 game. Those were the last runs allowed by El Paso starter Reiss Knehr, who went three innings and allowed five hits while striking out four.


The teams continued to trade blows in the fourth inning as Keaton Winn came on to pitch for the River Cats and gave up back-to-back walks to start his outing, followed by an RBI single to Yorman Rodriguez that made it 3-2. Two batters later, Fernando Tatis, Jr. grounded into a double play that produced another run that tied the game at 3-3.

Sacramento took the lead back in the bottom of the fourth as Armando Alvarez tripled off of Chihuahuas reliever Drew Carlton and scored two batters later on a sac-fly by Michael Gigliotti to make it a 4-3 advantage. El Paso would again tie the game in the fifth when Sullivan drew a one-out walk and scored on a two-out RBI double by Taylor Kohlwey to knot the score at 4-4.


El Paso took its first lead in the top of the sixth. Luis Liberato reached on an error committed by second baseman Will Wilson, stole second and scored on an ensuing single by Tatis that made it 5-4. Tatis would go 1-for-2 in his first game with El Paso with an RBI, two walks drawn and a run scored. The go-ahead run was the final run allowed by Winn who did not factor into the decision in his Triple-A debut, going three innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits while walking three and striking out two.


The River Cats rallied to get the lead back in the last of the sixth. With Sean Poppen on the mound for El Paso, Austin Wynns reached on an error to start the inning. After Gigliotti dropped down a bunt single, Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice and Wisely followed with an RBI double that tied the game at 5-5. Schmitt came up next and reached base on an error that allowed two runs to score. Two batters later, Wilson doubled to bring in another run and give the River Cats an 8-5 advantage.

Poppen worked just the sixth inning for the Chihuahuas and allowed four unearned runs on three hits.


El Paso would start its final comeback in the seventh. Mauricio Llovera came on to pitch for Sacramento and, with one on and one out, gave up a two-run homer to Kohlwey that cut the River Cats lead to 8-7. Those were the only runs allowed by Llovera in his lone inning of work.

In the eighth, Nick Duron (0-1) was summoned to pitch for Sacramento and saw El Paso load the bases with nobody out. Tim Lopes tied the game by grounding into a fielder’s choice. Three batters later with two outs, Kohlwey came up and capped off his big night with a two-run single to left to give the Chihuahuas a 10-8 lead. Kohlwey went 3-for-4 with 5 RBI’s and fell a triple shy of the cycle.

Duron suffered the loss, allowing three runs (one earned) on two hits while walking three in two-thirds of an inning.

Eric Hanhold (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh and eighth for El Paso and picked up the win, while Angel Felipe (SV, 1) worked around an error in the ninth and closed the game to earn his first save of the season.

The River Cats and Chihuahuas play the second game of their series on Wednesday night at Sutter Health Park. Left-hander Kade McClure makes the start for Sacramento, opposed by El Paso right-hander Pedro Avila. First pitch is set for 6:45 p.m. PDT.

Zack Bayrouty
Author: Zack Bayrouty