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 of them Strausborger’s hit to right to drive in James Ramsey, who led off with an infield hit. Colin Moran’s run-scoring single gave Fresno a 1-0 lead in the seventh, but Mike Freeman’s single drove in Nori Aoki to tie it in the eighth. Both of the early RBI hits came with two outs.
Up next – Fresno heads to Sacramento on Friday to opens its final series of the season with Grizzlies LH Evan Grills (1-1, 2.31) facing River Cats RH Dan Slania (1-0, 1.29) at 7:05 p.m. Grills will make his third start in Triple-A and second against Sacramento after spending most of the season at Class-A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi. He threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in his last start, giving up five hits and one walk to go with eight strikeouts against the River Cats at Chukchansi Park. Slania is slated to make his second start for Sacramento, last throwing for the River Cats for a spot start July 31 when he gave up two hits and one run in seven innings. Slania spent the past month at Class-A San Jose, going 2-2 with a 5.25 ERA in five appearances. The Grizzlies in these final four games have their sights set on securing the franchise’s first back-to-back winning seasons since 1998-99.
Smooth start interrupted – Right fielder Alejandro Garcia has been a nice fit in the Grizzlies’ lineup since arriving Aug. 13. The 25-year-old Cuban prospect who was signed by the parent-club Astros last year, had hit safely in 10 straight Triple-A starts but saw that run as well as an eight-game hiting streak end with an 0-for-5 night Thursday.