Friday recap – The Fresno Grizzlies’ season-ending struggles continued as they dropped their fourth straight game with a 5-1 loss at Sacramento. River Cats starting pitcher Dan Slania fanned nine batters and gave up just one run in six innings, an RBI double by Tyler Heineman in the sixth. Fresno southpaw Evan Grills took the loss after giving up four runs and seven hits over six innings. The River Cats opened the scoring in the third with a two-out, two-run double by Miguel Olivo. With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Grizzlies must win at least two of them to secure their first consecutive winning seasons since 1998-99.
Up next – Fresno RH Keegan Yuhl (0-3, 9.74 ERA) faces Sacramento RH Chris Heston (2-9, 4.24) at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Game 2 of the teams’ season-ending four-game series at Raley Field. Yuhl has allowed four or more runs while pitching six or fewer innings in his four starts since being promoted from Double-A Corpus Christi, where he had a 3.04 ERA in 19 games (17 starts). Heston pitched a no-hitter and won 12 games for River Cats parent club San Francisco last season and was on the opening day roster for 2016. After a slow start in April, he was sent to Sacramento, struggled there, too, missed nearly two months with an oblique strain and hasn’t been good since his return to action this month.
Thursday recap – Fresno played late into the night and on to the early morning for naught, as Ryan Strausborger’s walk-off single ended a 14-inning marathon and gave Tacoma a series-closing 2-1 win. The loss was the Grizzlies’ third straight and left them needing to at least split their final four games if they are to secure their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1998-99. Fresno RH David Paulino allowed two hits and two walks while striking out five in the best of his three starts since being promoted from Double-A Corpus Christi. Five relievers allowed only one run on five hits over the next eight until Eury De La Rosa (0-3), working his third inning, allowed three straight hits – the last Strausborger’s to drive in James Ramsey, who led off with an infield hit. Colin Moran’s base hit gave Fresno a 1-0 lead in the seventh, but Mike Freeman’s single drove in Nori Aoki in the eighth. Both of the early RBI hits came with two outs.
To the Show – Closer James Hoyt, Jandel Gustave and ace Brady Rodgers, all right-handers were called up from Fresno by parent club Houston after rosters expanded Thursday. Hoyt ran away with the PCL saves title with 29 while striking out 93 in 55 innings. He earned a brief promotion to the majors in early August. Rodgers has a narrow lead in the ERA race at 2.86.
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Bad math – The Grizzlies, entering Friday, were 5-16 since Aug. 12 and had scored one run in their past 24 innings. … Fresno is 4-7-1 in extra innings.
The Fresno Bee