Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sierra Nevada Goldens Finish Home Schedule Strongly by Going 9-2 vs. Division Foes for Best Home Month of 2089 Season

The Sierra Nevada Goldens entered the final month of the 2089 Brass season trailing their Copper Division rival Duluth-Superior Dukes by 2 games and the Iron Division’s Montreal Sunsets by 7 Games for the Silver League’s final wildcard slot. The September schedule saw the SoCal Knights come to town for 4 games, the Duluth-Superior Dukes for 3 games, and the Phoenix Phoenix finished the homestand with a 4-game set.

Goldens Sweep SoCal Knights 4-0 with Four Comeback Victories

The series against the Knights was a wild one. In all four contests, SoCal jumped out to an early lead and each time, the Goldens stormed back like a team surging to win the Copper Division title and enter post-season play.

Game 1:
The Knights jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the 3rd inning off of the Goldens #5 starter, Kyle Kendrick who gave up 3 HR’s in the early going to Kelly Johnson, rookie Joey Votto, & Gabe Gross. Kendrick hung in there though and he didn’t allow any more runs and left the game tied after 5 1/3 innings. The Goldens smashed 3 HR’s of their own, the last two coming in the bottom of the 7th by Jim Thome & Dan Uggla giving the Goldens all they would need for the 8-6 victory. Thome was 3 for 4 with 3 RBI’s & rookie CF Josh Anderson was 2 for 3, got beaned twice, and scored 3 times as the lead-off man. Andy Sonnanstine took the loss giving up 11 Hits, 2 Walks, & 2 HR’s in 6 1/3 innings of work.

Knights: 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 6 10 0
Goldens: 2 0 1 1 1 0 3 0 X - 8 13 1

W: Brian Fuentes
L: Andy Sonnanstine
S: Francisco Cordero

Game 2:
The 2nd game of the series was expected to be quite a pitching matchup featuring Jeremy Bonderman for the Knights vs. Mark Buehrle of the Goldens. To the contrary, both starters were roughed up severely and neither figured in the decision in what was the wildest game of the homestand. The Knights exploded early with 3 runs in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, and a whopping 7 runs in the 4th to knock out Mark Buehrle who gave up a total of 11 runs (9 earned) on 11 hits & 3 walks. He left the game losing 9-3 after letting 7 consecutive Knights batters reach base in the top of the 4th without recording an out. Amazingly, once rookie sensation Kevin Hart entered the game relieving Buehrle, the Knights did not get another hit until the 8th inning. On the other side, as soon as the Knights went ice cold, the Goldens went to work to erase the 8-run deficit by scoring 17 consecutive runs from the 4th inning on. The Goldens sent 11 men to the plate in the bottom of the 5th to score 7 runs of their own off Bonderman and Chad Durbin in relief, and they never looked back as they scored 3 more in the 6th, 2 in the 7th, and 4 in the 8th. Sierra Nevada had a season high 20 runs on 23 hits & scored in every inning except the 2nd, the only 1-2-3 inning. Kevin Hart was excellent in relief of Buehrle, going 4 innings with 4 walks and 4 K’s to earn the win. For the 2nd straight game, Josh Anderson had a big night. Today he was 5 for 6 with 4 runs & 2 RBI’s. Jermaine Dye had a solid game going 2 for 4 with a walk, a double, a homerun, and 4 RBI’s. DH Adam Dunn was 3 for 4 with 2 doubles & 2 RBI’s. Bengie Molina went 4 for 6 with 4 runs, a homerun, and 2 RBI’s. Every starter for the Goldens had at least 1 hit.

Knights: 3 1 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 - 11 14 1
Goldens: 1 0 2 1 7 3 2 4 X - 20 23 3

W: Kevin Hart
L: Chad Durbin

Game 3:
This matchup proved to be the closest of the series, but the Goldens overcame an early & a late lead to win 5-4 in their 3rd come-from-behind win of the series. The Knights’ Jered Weaver started against the Goldens’ Aaron Harang & both made it into the 7th inning before departing. Weaver left the game leading 4-3 and was stingy giving up only single runs in the 1st, 2nd, & 5th innings on 9 hits and 7 strikeouts. He walked 1 and did not allow a homer. Harang battled him tough giving up 4 earned runs on 6 hits and a walk thru 6+ innings.

The Knights started quickly once again as the first three batters of the game got hits and two of them scored. Coco Crisp led off the 2nd inning with a triple and scored on the Knights’ 2nd sac fly in as many innings jumping out to a 3-1 early lead. The Goldens tied the game at 3 in the 5th as Aaron Miles, Josh Anderson, & rookie David Murphy hit 3 consecutive singles off Weaver. In the 7th, the Knights took a 4-3 lead with a double from Eric Chavez off starter Aaron Harang followed by a single from Adam Lind two outs later off of young phenom Carlos Marmol. The Goldens completed their thrilling 5-4 comeback with 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th when Edgar Renteria led off the inning with a pinch-hit single off Ron Flores, stole 2nd, & scored on a double by Dan Uggla. Matt Herges then came in to relieve Flores and was greeted with the game-winning pinch-hit double by Hank Blalock. Francisco Cordero saved the game after loading up the bases on a single and 2 walks in the top of the ninth. Rookies Josh Anderson and David Murphy each had 2 hits and an RBI at the top of the lineup for the Goldens.

Knights: 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 - 4 10 0
Goldens: 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 X - 5 12 0

W: Kevin Hart
L: Ron Flores
S: Francisco Cordero

Game 4:
The series finale featured the SoCal Knights’ Shaun Marcum against the Sierra Nevada Goldens’ Gil Meche. The Knights scored in the 1st inning for the 4th straight game, this time on a grand slam from rookie catcher J.R. Towles, his first career homer. The Goldens cut the lead in half with a 2-run homerun by Adam Dunn in the 3rd, but Meche gave up a solo shot to Adam Lind in the 4th knocking him out of the game losing 5-2 on 8 hits in 4 1/3 innings for another ineffective Goldens start. The Knights extended the lead to 7-2 in the 6th when Brian Fuentes surrendered a 2-run double to Michael Young.

Entering the bottom of the 6th, it appeared that the Knights would finally be safe with a 5-run lead, but Jermaine Dye crushed a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 6th off Marcum and he left with a now 7-4 lead. In the 7th, pinch hitter Conor Jackson touched up reliever Chad Durbin with a double with two men on and scored when right fielder Andre Ethier misplayed his ball into a two-base error to tie the game! The Goldens scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th to give them their 1st lead of the game and the margin of victory on an error by Knights shortstop Michael Young & a clutch 2-run double by Goldens rookie first baseman, Joe Koshansky. It was his first hit in his first major league at bat. Francisco Cordero earned his 3rd save of the series with Kendry Morales representing the tying run at the plate in the 9th.

Knights: 4 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 - 7 14 2
Goldens: 0 0 2 0 0 2 3 3 X - 10 14 1

W: Carlos Marmol
L: Chad Durbin
S: Francisco Cordero

Goldens Win 2 of 3 vs. Duluth-Superior in Fight for Division Crown

Game 1:
The series opener gave the Goldens their 5th consecutive comeback victory in as many games on the current homestand. This time is was the Dukes who took the brunt of the Goldens opportunistic ways as they overcame a 2-run lead in the bottom of the 8th and a 1-run lead in the 12th to win the game. The game featured Dukes’ starter Erik Bedard against the Goldens’ Josh Beckett. Each starter allowed a solo homerun. Bedard allowed 2 earned runs in 5 innings while striking out 6 and left the game winning 2-1. Beckett had it a little tougher as he battled through 6 1/3 innings, allowing 8 hits while fanning 2 batters. The heroes of the day started to appear in the bottom of the 8th as the Goldens overcame a 2-run deficit with solo blasts from Jose Guillen & Dan Uggla (his 2nd of the day) which led to extra innings. In the top of the 12th, it appeared the Dukes scored the eventual winning run when Jamey Carroll hit a 1-out triple and scored on a Heath Bell wild pitch. But in the bottom half trailing 5-4, the Goldens rallied back with leadoff pinch-hit double by Carlos Beltran. Josh Anderson then singled Beltran to 3rd & then Adam Dunn walked to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Hank Blalock then hit a sac fly to tie it at 5. Aaron Miles then came in to pinch-hit for Jermaine Dye and won the game on a single for a thrilling victory.

Dukes: 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 - 5 11 0
Goldens: 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 2 - 6 14 1

W: Heath Bell
L: Joe Nathan

Game 2:
The Goldens won their 2nd game in as many nights as the race for the Copper Division crown got even tighter. Sierra Nevada knocked Duluth-Superior starter Brad Penny out of the game after only 2 2/3 innings who gave up 5 runs on 5 hits with 3 walks. The big blow came in the bottom of the 3rd as Penny surrendered 4 runs on 3 RBI doubles to David Murphy, Adam Dunn, & Dan Uggla and a bases loaded walk to Bengie Molina. Mark Buehrle pitched a strong 6 2/3 innings for the Goldens and left the game with a sizable 8-3 lead. The Goldens bullpen was good enough behind the arms of Heath Bell & Carlos Marmol and won the game easily 11-6. Bengie Molina had a big day for Sierra Nevada going 2 for 3 with a double, a homerun, and 3 RBI’s. Conor Jackson also chipped in with 3 RBI’s on a bases loaded triple in the bottom of the 7th with 2 outs to put the game out of reach.

Dukes: 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 3 - 6 10 0
Goldens: 0 1 4 1 2 0 3 0 X - 11 12 1

W: Mark Buehrle
L: Brad Penny

Game 3:
The Duluth-Superior Dukes avoided the series sweep with an amazing pitching performance where the Goldens barely made a whimper in a 15-0 shutout. The game featured the Dukes’ Chris Young against the Goldens’ Aaron Harang. Young earned the win on the day and gave up only 3 hits and 4 walks in 5 1/3 while striking out 4. The shut out was carried to the end with solid relief performances by Wes Littleton and Jon Rauch. On the other side, Aaron Harang was torched as he gave up 8 runs on 7 hits & 3 walks in only 3 1/3 innings of work. The finishing blow was a big 3-run homer by Alex Rodriguez in the 4th, an inning where the Dukes piled on 6 runs for a 9-0 lead. The Dukes finished with 15 hits on the day. Alex Rodriguez went 2 for 5 with 4 RBI’s with a double and a homerun. Leadoff man Juan Pierre was 3 for 6 with a double and scored 3 times. Michael Cuddyer also had a big game for the Dukes as he was 2 for 3 with 3 RBI with a double and a homerun.

Dukes: 0 2 1 6 0 3 1 0 2 - 15 15 1
Goldens: 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 5 2

W: Chris Young
L: Aaron Harang

Sierra Nevada concludes 2089 Home Schedule Taking 3 of 4 Versus Last Place Phoenix

Game 1:
The Goldens suffered their 2nd consecutive shutout on the homestand, this time to the Phoenix Phoenix in the series opener. Phoenix’s Josh Fogg went the distance in a complete game as he gave up only 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 8 in a 5-0 victory. Sierra Nevada’s Gil Meche was roughed up for 5 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings of work. The Phoenix had a balanced attack with 10 his. Kenny Lofton had 2 hits, including a triple, 1-run, and an RBI.

Phoenix: 1 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 - 5 10 0
Goldens: 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 4 0

W: Josh Fogg
L: Gil Meche

Game 2:
The Goldens jumped over Phoenix starter Jason Schmidt early en route to an easy 8-2 victory behind the arm of Orlando Hernandez who pitched a solid 5 innings for the win. Schmidt’s demise came in the 4th as the Goldens pounded out two singles and two doubles and two stolen bases in the 5-run inning. Schmidt left the game after 3 1/3 and was charged with 6 runs on 8 hits and walked 4. The Goldens pitching was solid behind Hernandez, Brian Fuentes, and Heath Bell, giving up only 2 solo homers to Kenny Lofton & Garret Anderson in the 6th. For the Goldens, Conor Jackson led the charge going 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI & scored twice. David Murphy & Jermaine Dye also produced with a double apiece and 2 RBI’s each. The game was never in doubt after the Goldens led 7-0 after 4 innings.

Phoenix: 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 - 2 4 2
Goldens: 1 1 0 5 0 0 0 1 X - 8 11 0

W: Orlando Hernandez
L: Jason Schmidt

Game 3:
For the second straight game, the Goldens jumped out to an early lead as Aaron Harang pitched a gutsy 10-4 complete game victory. Matt Chico took the loss for the Phoenix as he gave up 9 runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. The Goldens scored 4 in the first inning on 3 singles from the top of the lineup, followed by a 2-run homer by Dan Uggla who finished with 3 RBI’s on the day. Rookie David Murphy had a big day going 4 for 5 with a double, a triple, and an RBI & scored 4 times! Jermaine Dye had his second straight big game going 3 for 3 with a homerun, 2 RBI’s, and scored twice. Harang struck out 12 for the Goldens in the 9 innings as he walked only 1 batter and spread out 9 hits. The only Phoenix threats came in the 2nd and 4th innings as they scored 2 runs in each frame to keep the game close until the Goldens broke the game open in the 5th with a pair of runs for an 8-4 lead.

Phoenix: 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 - 4 9 2
Goldens: 4 0 2 0 2 1 1 0 X - 10 12 0

W: Aaron Harang
L: Matt Chico

Game 4:
The Goldens defeated the Phoenix Phoenix for the 3rd straight game to win the series 4-1. Today’s game saw a matchup of Phoenix’s Josh Towers against Goldens’ rookie Juan Gutierrez, making his 1st big league start. Gutierrez was very impressive pitching 7+ innings while striking out 5 in hitter friendly Great American Ballpark. Gutierrez pitched 7 innings of 3-hit ball until he gave up a solo shot to Jason Smith to lead off the 8th. Fuentes preserved the victory for the youngster with 2 perfect innings while striking out 3. Sierra Nevada jumped out to a 1st inning lead for the 3rd straight game as rookie David Murphy remained hot with a 2-run bomb and finished 3 for 4 with 3 RBI’s and added a double. Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye also added a homerun each in the 7-1 victory.

Phoenix: 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 - 1 4 0
Goldens: 2 0 0 1 0 1 1 2 X - 7 11 0

W: Juan Gutierrez
L: Josh Towers

The Goldens completed their best homestand of the year going 9-2. The upcoming road trip figures to be very exciting as they continue to hunt down the division leading Dukes. The division figures to be settled during a 4-game set at Duluth-Superior in the middle of the trip.