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Bullpen, Late Homer Sparks Cats Win 

Alvarez, Ramos Lift Off While Bullpen Stays Strong
Miguel Yajure delivers a pitch during Sacramento's contest at Sutter Health Park. (Ralph Thompson Photo)
September 2, 2023

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Both the Sacramento River Cats and the Albuquerque Isotopes traded runs through the majority of the contest, but a pair of home runs for Sacramento helped them draw even in the series with a 3-2 win on Friday. Consecutive leadoff knocks for the Isotopes (57-73) produced

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Both the Sacramento River Cats and the Albuquerque Isotopes traded runs through the majority of the contest, but a pair of home runs for Sacramento helped them draw even in the series with a 3-2 win on Friday.

Consecutive leadoff knocks for the Isotopes (57-73) produced the game’s opening run, as Wynton Bernard singled and moved up to third on a two-bagger by Jimmy Herron before scoring on a groundout by Coco Montes.

During the second inning the River Cats (57-72) responded, plating a run on a sacrifice fly from Armando Alvarez. Scoring on the play was Joey Bart, who was hit in the hand to reach base and then advanced up to third on a ground-rule double by Heliot Ramos.

Back-to-back doubles put Albuquerque back in front during the away half of the fourth, with Roman Quinn reaching first before trading places with Hunter Stovall. Just an inning later and Sacramento was able to equalize again, as Alvarez delivered his second RBI of the game as he hammered the first pitch he saw over the wall in left field for his 14th home run of the campaign.

Despite putting runners at the edges during their swings in the sixth, the Isotopes were unable to capitalize which left the door open for the River Cats to snatch their first lead of the contest in the home half of the seventh when Sacramento left the yard yet again. This time it was Ramos with the blast, hammering a 3-1 offering to center field from Albuquerque starter Jeff Criswell (5-10).

That spelled the beginning of the end for Criswell, who after throwing behind the next Sacramento hitter was ejected for his role when both benches and bullpens emptied onto the field.

Down but not out, Albuquerque tried to rally in both the eighth and ninth innings but came up empty handed on each occasion. A walk and a bunt single against Nick Avila were responsible for a pair aboard in the eighth, but Avila danced out of danger by inducing an inning-ending double play.

Meanwhile, Erik Miller walked two during the ninth but punched out the side for his ninth save of the season. Miller has been tough as nails over his previous 11 outings, as he has not allowed a single run and yielded only one hit in a span that stretches 10.1 combined innings.

In a contest that featured seven Sacramento pitchers, the win belonged to Miguel Yajure (1-4) as he claimed his first of the season by tossing 3.0 innings and scattering three hits with a walk and five strikeouts.

Overall, Yajure was the fourth River Cats hurler to enter the game, trailing behind a pair of major league rehab appearances by Ross Stripling and John Brebbia. Stripling started the contest and allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout, while Brebbia worked the third and punched out two while allowing one hit.

Sacramento had just five hits on the night, two of which belonged to Ramos as he was 2-for-3 with one run scored, one double, a homer, an RBI, and a walk. Including the pair tonight, each of his last three hits have gone for extra bases. Also collecting a knock was Alvarez, who was 1-for-1 with his homer, a pair of RBI and a walk, while Luis Matos and Tyler Fitzgerald were each 1-for-4.

After alternating wins through the first four games of the series, both teams will try to take an edge in game five tomorrow at Sutter Health Park with first pitch scheduled for 6:37 p.m.