Posted by Mack Ade at 6:00 AM
The Sacramento River Cats' Ty Blach allowed just three baserunners through the first five innings, but was ultimately undone in a rough sixth inning. The defense behind him made some spectacular plays but then faltered, giving away two unearned runs in Thursday night's 7-4 loss to the Las Vegas 51s.
Blach looked sharp early on, retiring 12 of the first 15 he faced, allowing just a single in both the first and fourth innings and a double in the third. He was commanding his pitches, walking none for the second start in the row and inducing six groundball outs to go with three strikeouts. With the River Cats ahead 2-1 on an Adam Duvall home run, Blach seemed to be in the driver's seat.
The 51s finally got to Blach in the sixth, though, leading off the inning with back-to-back singles. An error - the second of three on the night for Sacramento - by left fielder Travis Ishikawa led to runners on the corners with nobody out. With Matt Reynolds at the plate, Blach made his only mistake of the night, letting a fastball trail out over the middle of plate. Reynolds crushed the belt-high pitch deep to left for the three run home run, giving Las Vegas a 4-2 lead. They would keep a lead the rest of the night, scoring again on a throwing error by Duvall and on a two run home run off the bat of 51s Alex Castellanos.
Blach did contribute to the exciting defensive plays of the night. With Castellanos on second in the sixth, Blach leapt to snare a hard hit line drive out of the air. Expecting the ball to go through, Castellanos had broken for third and made for an easy double play.
Sacramento's Ronny Cedeno and Juan Perez also made brilliant defensive stops in the early innings. With a runner on first, Cedeno ranged far to his right, snagging the grounder as he slid toward the outfield grass. With a backhand glove flip, he got the ball perfectly to shortstop Ehire Adrianza in time to get the runner. Perez later made a running shoe top catch on what looked like a sure bloop single to right to start off the fifth inning.
The 51s also had a big defensive night. Darrell Ceciliani made two incredible diving catches in centerfield and third baseman Wilfredo Tovar made an brilliant stop on a hard hit ground ball down the line, getting to his feet and throwing out the speedy Cedeno at first.
The River Cats made three errors on the night. Carlos Triunfel (missed catch in the second), Ishikawa (missed catch in the sixth) and Duvall (throwing error in the eighth) contributed to two unearned Las Vegas runs.
Duvall did have another nice night at the plate, going 1-4 with a two run home run. He now has three home runs and nine RBIs on the season and is riding a mini six-game hit streak in the early season.