Blanked at home – The Fresno Grizzlies were shut out for just the fifth time this season, held to five hits as the Sacramento River Cats secured a 3-0 win Friday before an announced crowd of 10,295 at Chukchansi Park. River Cats starting pitcher Ty Blach, a fifth-round pick by the San Francisco Giants in 2012, fired nine strikeouts over seven scoreless innings. It was his fourth start this season in which he didn’t allow a run. Blach, who entered Friday ranked seventh in the Pacific Coast League in ERA, lowered his mark to 3.43. Ryan Lollis and Ruben Tejeda each had three hits and drove in a run. Gizzlies starting pitcher David Paulino amassed eight strikeouts in five innings but also gave up all three runs.
Up next – San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain (1-0, 3.18 ERA in Triple-A) will make a rehab start for the Sacramento River Cats against the host Fresno Grizzlies on Saturday. First pitch is 7:05 p.m. Cain will face Grizzlies LH Evan Grills (0-1, 5.40), who’ll make his second start in Triple-A. Grills struggled in his Grizzlies debut, allowing two home runs and four total runs off eight hits in five innings. In Double-A and Class-A earlier this season, Grills combined to go 8-6 with a 3.89 ERA.
Bobblehead promotion – The first 1,500 fans through the Chukchansi Park gates Saturday will receive a bobblehead commemorating manager Tony DeFrancesco, who guided the Grizzlies to a 2015 Triple-A National Championship.
Breaking even – The Grizzlies must win four of their final 10 games to lock up their first consecutive winning seasons since moving downtown to Chukchansi Park in 2002. The Grizzlies went 81-62 and 73-69 during 1998 and 1999, but those seasons were played then at Fresno State’s Beiden Field. The Grizzlies’ 2-8 slide over the past two weeks has dropped them to third place in the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Northern Division and seven games back of the first-place Tacoma Rainiers.
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Highway 99 rivalry – The Grizzlies are 18-8 against the River Cats in Fresno’s two seasons as the Houston Astros affiliate and Sacramento as the Giants Triple-A club. That includes a 7-3 record this season.