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River Cats need extra innings to complete sweep of Grizzlies

The River Cats mob Anthony Recker at home plate following his game-winning home run

It took 12 innings in all, but those who stayed until the end were treated to an Anthony Recker walk-off home run and a series sweep of the Fresno Grizzlies by the Sacramento River Cats.

The offense was at a premium on a chilly Friday night at Raley Field, but Recker’s blast to left field at 11 p.m. gave the River Cats a 2-1 victory and their first sweep of the rival Grizzlies since 2009.

An announced crowd of 12,022 watched the finale of this chapter of what has been dubbed the “Highway 99 series," but in addition to bragging rights, first place in the Pacific South division was also on the line.

Bruce Billings took the mound for Sacramento, facing off against fellow righty Yusmeiro Petit for Fresno. Both pitchers were superb with Billings recording six strikeouts over six innings and Petit lasting seven innings while collecting nine strikeouts.

Petit allowed just two hits over his first six innings of work and did not allow a River Cat to reach second base until Kila Ka’aihue’s ground-rule double with one out in the seventh. Ka’aihue was driven home on a base hit by Stephen Parker.

The Grizzlies scored their lone run of the game in the second inning when Todd Linden was brought home on an infield hit by Jackson Williams.

Fresno threatened to take the lead in the sixth, ninth and 12th innings but Sacramento avoided danger with great defensive plays.

With the bases loaded in the sixth inning Charlie Culberson only managed a weak bouncer back to Billings, who turned to second base and triggered a one-six-three double play to end the inning.

In the ninth inning with pinch-hitter Brock Bond at second base Williams sent a fly ball to the gap in right-center field but a sprinting Michael Taylor reached above his head and made a sparkling catch to preserve the game and earn a roar from the home crowd.

Danny Farquhar came on to pitch the 12th inning for the River Cats and the Grizzlies immediately loaded the bases with the first three batters Farquhar faced. However, Farquhar was able to get the next three batters out to keep the game locked at a run apiece.

With two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning Recker, who started the year with the Oakland A’s, crushed a home run to left field to end the game and give Sacramento the sweep and a 1.5 game lead over Fresno in the standings.
 

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