After four straight defeats at home, the Bakersfield Blaze won their second straight game at Sam Lynn Ballpark in Bakersfield with a 5-3 Tuesday night win over the Inland Empire 66ers. Tony Cingrani (W, 5-1) was instrumental in the victory with a strong effort on the mound.
Despite stranding 13 men on base, Bakersfield scored just enough to get the job done. All of their runs came off 66ers starter Ryan Crowley (L, 1-3), as he worked 5.2 innings before departing.
In the bottom of the second inning, Travis Mattair singled and Niko Vasquez doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs. A groundout brought the first run in, and after a Tucker Barnhart single put runners at the corners, James Ewing singled in the second run to put the Blaze up 2-0.
Two innings later and with one out, Theo Bowe dropped down a bunt single that rolled just inside the third base line, and after stealing second, James Ewing doubled him home. After Billy Hamilton lined out, Devin Lohman whacked a double off the left field wall to score Ewing, and the Blaze were up 4-0. They scored an additional run in the sixth, hitting four singles to get the run.
With California League ERA leader Tony Cingrani (W, 5-1) on the mound, the Blaze appeared to be in good position to get the win. Cingrani had another good start, going 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on four hits, with two strikeouts and one walk. The effort was more than good enough for the win, and the Blaze pen did their part as well. Kyle McMyne followed Cingrani, and he retired all five men he faced. Mike Griffin and Pat Doyle combined to pitch the eighth, and Griffin allowed a run on two walks and a single.
Brian Pearl (S, 8) pitched the ninth, and struggled a bit with a Sixers club that rarely strikes out. Brandon Brewer singled to lead off the inning, and after a grounder to third, he allowed a walk and a single to load the bases. Travis Witherspoon lined to first for the second out, and a wild throw behind the runner at second resulted in an unearned run. Pearl then settled down, and struck out Randal Grichuk to end the game.
With the victory, and combined with San Jose’s three-game losing skid, the Blaze are back within 3.5 in the Cal League North. Next up for Bakersfield is a three game set in San Jose, starting on Wednesday night.
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