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River Cats use home runs from Hicks and Barton to beat Rainiers

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Summertime baseball is back in Sacramento as a game-time temperature of 96 degrees greeted the fans at Friday night’s River Cats game.

A crowd of 8,179 watched as the River Cats held on for a 5-2 victory over Tacoma in game two of the four-game weekend series.

With all seven of the runs scored in Friday’s ballgame coming in the first five innings, the last four innings felt as though they cruised by and the game finished in two hours and 36 minutes. In comparison, Thursday’s game took a season-long three hours and 41 minutes to complete.

Sacramento jumped on the scoreboard first as a rolling ground ball off the bat of Grant Green took a lucky bounce off of third base and continued into left field, giving Green a double. Daric Barton lined a double of his own into the right field corner allowing Green to cross the plate.

Tacoma quickly tied the game in the second inning as they put part-time River Cat left fielder Anthony Recker to the test.

Recker is typically behind the plate in the catcher’s position and his night in left field got off to a rough start as he misplayed a fly ball off the bat of Mike Wilson. Recker appeared to lose the ball in the sun initially but the replay indicated he simply was not deep enough to make the catch and Wilson was able to reach second base.

The shallow fly ball hit by Vinnie Catricala forced Recker to attempt a diving catch which was missed and Wilson was able to score easily on the play.

The next Tacoma batter, Guillermo Quiroz, also hit a fly ball to Recker, but this one was caught and the crowd responded with a loud ovation. Recker is a fan favorite in Sacramento. He has split his time this season between the River Cats and the Oakland A’s in the big leagues.

Brandon Hicks put the River Cats ahead for good in the bottom of the second inning as he blasted a two-run home run to left field on the first pitch he saw. Hicks also made a pair of dazzling plays at shortstop to keep the Rainiers off of the base paths.

Barton led off the fifth inning with a home run to right field and Hicks missed his second home run of the game by a foot after his shot to center field bounced off the wall to score Norris from first base.

Capping off Friday night was the River Cats annual sleepover promotion. The first 2,500 fans to the game received a souvenir pillowcase and those who purchased a special ticket package were allowed to camp out on the Raley Field grass with dinner after the game and breakfast in the morning before going home.

Shortly before Friday night’s game the A’s issued a press release to announce Manny Ramirez had asked for and was granted his outright release. Ramirez signed a minor league deal with the A’s on February 20 and had played in 17 games with the River Cats.

Images provided by Ron Nabity

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