Fresno Grizzlies

Grizzlies’ new affiliation producing like the last one in fast start to PCL season

New affiliate, same success for the Fresno Grizzlies.

Raudy Read hit a walkoff RBI double in the ninth inning Monday afternoon to send the Grizzlies past the Reno Aces 7-6 at Chukchansi Park.

Most in the crowd on Making The Grade Day were schoolkids who had to leave before the wild finish that saw Reno score in the eighth and ninth to tie it. Those who stayed celebrated Fresno’s second walkoff win and a 4-1 start in its inaugural season as the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate.

The Grizzlies fed the Houston Astros the past four years, all winning seasons.

Top Nationals prospect Carter Kieboom had a big day Monday, batting 4 for 5 with a double, triple, run scored and RBI. The shortstop had been 2 for 13 before getting Sunday off.

And the Grizzlies hit two more homers, giving them nine in five games.

Monday’s mid-afternoon finish afforded the Grizzlies a comfort that’s hard to schedule in the Pacific Coast League: travel time. They start a seven-game road trip Tuesday night at Salt Lake. Fresno will finish the trip with a night game April 15 at Las Vegas then start a seven-game homestand the following night against Salt Lake.

The Grizzlies enjoyed a great start at the turnstile, averaging 8,208 in the first four games to rank fourth among the eight PCL teams hosting opening weekend. And Fresno’s total of 32,832 was just seven behind Oklahoma City, which got a boost from Clayton Kershaw’s rehab start.

Fresno’s big crowd was Saturday night, 10,047 drawn in part by a jersey giveaway to the first 1,500 fans. The black-and-gold jersey paid homage to the franchise’s five championships (four as an affiliate of a World Series winner plus the 2015 Triple-A title).