Down on the Farm: River Cats set team record with historic 13-run inning

Tim Cattera/MiLB

Down on the Farm: River Cats set team record with historic 13-run inning

The Sacramento River Cats put together an inning for the history books on Thursday. When you look at the box score, you see a '1' in the second inning and then a '2' in the sixth before you have to blink and make sure your mind isn't playing tricks on you. 

Sacramento plated 13 runs in the seventh inning, as a 6-3 deficit turned into a 16-6 lead over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. The River Cats scored one more run on Orlando Calixte’s second home run of the game in the top of the ninth and went on to win, 17-7. 

With 13 runs in one inning, the River Cats broke a franchise record that was first set two weeks from 17 years ago on May 25, 2000. To make matters even more wild, the previous franchise record of 12 runs in one inning occurred at the same exact stadium, Security Service Field. 

The historic seventh inning was also the first 10-plus-run inning in the Pacific Coast League this season. Sacramento fell one run shy of the modern-day record, coming in 1978.  

In the historic hitting barrage, the River Cats nearly batted around twice in one inning. They sent 17 batters to the plate and recorded eight hits, five of which were extra-base hits. Along with all the hits, the River Cats also walked four times and Winton Bernard was hit by a pitch. 

The Sky Sox went through three pitchers in the seventh inning. 

Former Stanford standout Austin Slater smacked two doubles in the seventh frame. Slater knocked four runs in during the inning and came across to score twice himself. Slater went 3-for-6 on the day and is now batting .283 in 29 games this season. 

Even with Slater's big game, Calixte, the team’s leadoff hitter, was the real star of the day. Calixte collected the River Cats' first five-hit game of the season as he went 5-for-6 with two home runs, one double, drove in four runs, and scored four runs. He came within a triple of the cycle. 

Through 32 games, Calixte leads the River Cats in home runs (6), RBI (22), runs scored (16) and stolen bases (9). 

Calixte and Slater earned the spotlight, but they weren't alone in the blowout win. In total, five players produced multi-hit games, the team had 19 hits all together and nine of those were extra-base hits. Now let's compare some numbers of the Triple-A team's historic game to their big league club, the San Francisco Giants. 

The Giants ended a five-game losing streak Wednesday thanks to rookie Christian Arroyo, who San Francisco called up from Sacramento on April 25, with a 6-5 win over the Mets. Arroyo's game-winning double made sure the Giants weren't swept in two straight three-game road series. Over the Giants' five-game losing streak, they scored nine runs, or four less than the River Cats scored in the seventh inning alone on Thursday. 

It took a four-run ninth inning in Wednesday's win to get the Giants over the 13-run threshold for six games. But, that still couldn't match the 17 the River Cats came away with against the Sky Sox. In Cincinnati and New York, the Giants combined for 15 runs over six games. 

Long story short, history is fun and appreciate every single run the River Cats scored in their offensive onslaught. 

Around The Horn

— ICYMI: I spoke with Giants prospect Ryder Jones earlier in the week. Jones, a usual first and third baseman for the River Cats, is getting time in life field for Sacramento. He told me all about the transition. 

— Baseball America came out with an updated Top 100 prospects list on Thursday. Tyler Beede went from No. 89 to No. 84 while the previously unranked Christian Arroyo is now No. 92. 

— Chris Shaw is on a seven-game hitting streak and has played left field in three straight games in Double-A for the Richmond Flying Squirrels. In his last 10 games, the Giants’ top pick from 2015 is batting .412 with 14 hits.

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.

Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential


Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For most pitchers, spring training is a time to experiment and add a pitch or two. Josh Osich is using this month to go the other direction. 

Osich spent the offseason watching film of his 2015 season, when he looked like he might one day be the closer in San Francisco, and decided that he needed to get back to his roots. That means the curveball, which he tried so hard to mix in last year, is now far back in the cupboard. The four-seam and two-seam fastballs are once again the focus, with an emphasis on changing eye levels more than he did a year ago. The changeup and cutter will round out his arsenal for the most part. 

Osich’s raw stuff is still as good as just about any lefty reliever in the league, and he hopes to take advantage of that while putting a rough 2017 season in his rearview mirror. He had a 6.23 ERA last season and 1.73 WHIP.

“It’s just one of those learning years,” Osich said. “I tried to live at the bottom of the zone and I was, but I was actually below the zone. So then I would fall behind and need to throw a strike and that’s when guys would hit me.”

Osich, 29, had a 2.20 ERA and 1.12 WHIP during that 2015 season that he keeps going back to. He walked eight batters in 28 2/3 innings, a far cry from the 27 he walked in 43 1/3 last year. While watching the 2015 version of himself, Osich saw that his hands were higher, and that’s something he’s working to replicate. He’s also trying to slow his pace to the plate. So far, the results are nothing but encouraging. Osich allowed one hit and struck out one in a 2 1/3 inning appearance on Wednesday night. Manager Bruce Bochy let him extend himself to keep the good vibes going. 

In six appearances this spring, Osich has allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings. He has seven strikeouts and one walk. 

“O, it just seems like he’s got confidence,” Bochy said. “He’s kept it simple, he’s not tinkering with different pitches. He’s throwing more strikes, and more than anything he’s just trying to pound the strike zone now with quality strikes. That’s all he has to do. You look at him and he’s hitting 95 with a couple of good off-speed pitches. That works here.”