A trip into thin air sparked a record-setting day for the Triple-A River Cats’ lineup.
The River Cats set a franchise record for runs in an inning by scoring 13 in the seventh inning of a 17-7 win over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox on Thursday. It eclipsed their previous high of 12 runs set in 2000, the team’s first season in Sacramento, also at Colorado Springs.
Sacramento trailed 6-3 going into the 13-run inning, which milb.com reported fell three runs short of matching the Pacific Coast League record set in 1923 by Salt Lake City.
The River Cats sent 17 men to the plate in the seventh, seven before recording an out. They totaled eight hits, five walks and a hit batter. Five of the hits went for extra bases.
“I’ve never been a part of something like that,” River Cats outfielder Austin Slater said in a phone call. “(In the dugout) it was like, ‘Are we about to get three at-bats this inning?’ At the end of it, it was like, ‘Let’s see if we can get three.’ ”
Juniel Querecuto walked to start the inning, pinch-hitter Kyle Blanks singled and Orlando Calixte doubled in a run. Slater then hit a two-run double that tied the score 6-6.
It was 11-6 by the time Slater came up again with the bases loaded and hit his second double of the inning, driving in two more runs. Chris Marrero followed with a three-run homer that capped the inning.
“It was pretty great hitting conditions the whole game,” said Slater, who went 3 for 6 with four RBIs and three runs. “But I would say once we got on a roll, it kind of felt like their pitchers were on their heels a little bit.”
Calixte, who added an RBI single in the seventh, finished the game 5 for 6 with four RBIs and four runs scored, also hitting two homers in the sixth and ninth innings. His batting average jumped 30 points as a result, from .252 to .282.
The River Cats are now 13-20 and have won back-to-back games for just the third time this season. They send top Giants pitching prospect Tyler Beede to the mound on Friday night against the Sky Sox, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.
“The general thought in the clubhouse is that we’re not this bad,” Slater said of the early struggles. “We’re a lot better than what we’re showing, and it’s just a matter of time.”