Sacramento River Cats pitcher Travis Banwart would’ve had a shutout if he hadn’t surrendered a home run to Robert Andino in the fifth inning of Saturday night’s game against the Tacoma Rainiers.
But he couldn’t curse his luck all that much afterwards, considering that the homer led to the only run he gave up in a little over seven innings of action and that the score had little meaning in the greater scheme of things as the River Cats won comfortably 6-1 at Raley Field.
“(I felt) pretty good about (my performance). I missed one spot for the home run,” Banwart said. “(Other than that) I was trying to put the guys away in four pitches.”
Added manager Steve Scarsone: “I thought he pitched very aggressively tonight. He stayed with what was working for him.”
In addition to holding Tacoma (42-28) to one run on five hits, Banwart struck out seven batters en route to improving to 4-2 on the season.
He wasn’t a one-man show, however, as batters like Scott Moore, Michael Choice and Daric Barton turned in solid nights for Sacramento (39-30). Moore was three of four, Choice was two of four, and Barton was three of five. The trio combined to knock in four runs.
The game was scoreless for two-and-a-half innings before Jemile Weeks doubled, stole third, and then sped home on a single by Choice. Choice then scored on a hit by Barton to give the River Cats a 2-0 lead.
Andino hit his homer into left field in the top of the fifth, but it didn’t faze Sacramento as the team tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the inning. Grant Green scored on a sacrifice fly by Luke Montz and Choice made it home on a single by Moore.
In the bottom of the seventh, Barton doubled before being brought home by Moore, and in the bottom of the eighth, Stephen Vogt, who was hitless coming into the inning, put the exclamation mark on the victory by smashing a fastball over left field fence for his ninth home run of the season.
Defensively, Brian Gordon was the only other pitcher to see action for the River Cats. He came in for Banwart midway through the eighth and went on to strike out three, while giving up only one hit.
Sacramento continues its series with Tacoma with a 1:05 p.m. game on Sunday.