Guzman survived a brief scare Wednesday
SACRAMENTO -- In a battle of two talented hurlers with major league experience, Juan Dominguez and the Sacramento River Cats came out ahead against the Iowa Cubs and their promising right-hander Angel Guzman. In arguably his best start of the season, Dominguez mixed his fastball, slider and change-up effectively all night.
Before the season started, a match-up of Juan Dominguez and Angel Guzman would have created quite a
lot of buzz. Both right-handers came into the season
with high expectations, but both have been
inconsistent thus far. Dominguez has been especially
inconsistent in his first season with Sacramento,
mixing in an occasional good start with a number of
Dominguez has been better of late, however, and he
earned his third win over his last four starts with a
strong 6.1 inning performance on Wednesday. The
sometimes mercurial right-hander showed good poise on
the mound early on. In the first inning, Dominguez
allowed a single to I-Cubs second baseman Mike Fontenot and a bloop double to right fielder Buck Coats to put runners at second and third with only one
out. Dominguez bore down on the I-Cubs at that point,
however, striking out former Minnesota Twin Michael Restovich and prospect Micah Hoffpauir on a pair of
nasty off-speed pitches to end the threat.
Dominguez would go on to strike out seven batters over
his 6.1 innings of work. He showed good command
throughout the game, allowing only two walks, one of
which came when Dominguez was tiring in the seventh.
Of his 100 pitches, 66 were strikes.
The only real blemish on Dominguez’s evening came in
the second inning when the newly acquired I-Cubs left
fielder Luis Montanez hit an opposite field solo
homerun. The ball initially appeared to be a
medium-deep fly-out, but it kept carrying in the warm
Sacramento air right out of the ballpark. Dominguez
would allow one-out doubles in the third and fourth
innings, but in both instances, he was able to retire
the next two batters without the runner even advancing
For most of the game, the I-Cubs right hander Guzman
was matching Dominguez dominant inning for dominant
inning. He struck out the first two hitters he saw in
the game and worked through the first two frames with
relative ease. He ran into some trouble in the third
inning when John Baker led off with a single and
advanced to second on Charles Thomas’ seeing-eye
base-hit up the middle on a hit and run. Both runners
moved up a base on Doug Clark’s sacrifice bunt and
Baker came home on Keith Ginter’s long sacrifice fly
which tied the game at one.
Guzman would run into more trouble in the fifth inning
and once again Thomas was in the middle of it. With
one-out, the River Cats’ centerfielder singled and
then advanced to second on a balk. He moved to third
on a single by Clark and the bases were then loaded
when Ginter walked. Guzman, who had had good control
for most of the game, got wild at this point and
plunked Hiram Bocachica on the upper-back/neck area to
force home a run. Nate Espy followed with a sacrifice
fly and the River Cats had a 3-1 lead.
The score would remain 3-1 until the seventh inning
when, with reliever Jerome Williams on the mound,
Sacramento would pounce for two more runs. Ginter
began the inning with a walk and he advanced to second
on a single by Bocachica. Espy then singled to load
the bases and Scott McClain would deliver the big blow
of the game, a two-run ground-rule double. Sacramento
would add one more run in the eighth inning, when
Thomas came home on a wild pitch by I-Cubs reliever
Matt Roney worked 1.2 innings of scoreless relief to
bridge the gap between Dominguez and the ninth inning.
The final frame would get a little hairy for the River
Cats, however. John Birtwell came on with a 6-1 lead,
but he couldn’t finish out the inning. He allowed a
walk, a run and two hits before recording an out.
After another walk loaded the bases, Birtwell was
pulled in favor of sometimes closer Jason Karnuth.
Karnuth snuffed the I-Cubs rally immediately, striking
out Geovany Soto and getting Augie Ojeda to bounce it
back to the pitcher to end the game.
Stars Of The Game
Juan Dominguez: Dominguez showed why the A’s
coveted him this off-season with an outstanding
performance on Wednesday. He had his plus off-speed
pitch working, and he kept his fastball low in the
strike zone for most of the game. He worked both sides
of the plate well, keeping hitters off-balance all
Charles Thomas: Thomas reached base four times,
going 3-3 with a walk and two runs scored. He also
threw out a runner trying to advance from first to
third on a base-hit and made a nice play on a drive
over his head in center.
Hiram Bocachica: Bocachica was a catalyst for
Sacramento for most of the night. He singled and stole
a base in the first inning, drove in a run by being
hit with a pitch in the fifth, singled and scored in
the seventh and walked in the eighth.
Mike Fontenot: Fontenot had a single, a double
and a walk in three official plate appearances and he
helped turn two double-plays and made a strong throw
home to force a runner at the plate in the seventh
inning for the I-Cubs.
Scary Moment, part 1: Guzman was hit in the
upper-body by a rocket off the bat of Jeremy Brown
with two-outs in the fourth inning. It looked at first
like it hit him in the head, but it later appeared
that it just grazed his head and hit him in the cap.
Guzman stayed down briefly, regained his composure and
got back on the mound to pitch after two practice
tosses. He recovered to strikeout Mike Rouse on a
nasty off-speed pitch to end the inning.
Scary Moment, part 2: With the bases loaded and
one-out in the fifth, Guzman hit Bocachica on the
upper back/neck with a pitch. Bocachica stayed down
for awhile, but then trotted to first with a painful
RBI. The utilityman has had a lot of bruises from
being hit by pitches lately. He has been battling
wrist problems since being beaned in spring training
2005, and he was hit in the elbow with a pitch last
weekend while with Stockton. He shook off the effects
of this beaning and stayed in for the rest of the
game, contributing another hit and a walk by the end
of the night.
Strange Play of the Game: Guzman threw an 0-1
pitch to Doug Clark in the fifth and he went through
his whole motion – but forgot to throw the ball. It
squirted out of his hand and hit him on the knee.
Thomas ran from first and was thrown out, but after an
umpires’ conference, Thomas was awarded second on a
balk call. He would later come around to
Defensive Play of the Game: With two-on and
two-out in the fifth, Scott McClain rocketed a hard
groundball down the left-field line. Third baseman
Casey McGehee laid out and smothered the ball, then
got up and threw out McClain by an eyelash to end the
No Pie for You: After collecting five hits on
Tuesday, Cubs prospect Felix Pie went 0-4 with two
strikeouts on Wednesday. He swung at the first pitch
in both his second and third at-bats and made outs
both times on those swings.
Good Relief: Matt Roney came on with runners at
second and third and one-out in the seventh and he
kept the runs from scoring, He then worked a 1-2-3
eighth inning. Of his 18 pitches, 14 were
Jason Karnuth came on with the score 6-2 and the
bases-loaded with one-out in the ninth. He struck out
I-Cubs’ catcher Geovany Soto and then induced Augie
Ojeda to hit into a groundout to the pitcher. He
earned his seventh save of the season.
Bad Relief: Jerome Williams allowed two runs in
one-third of an inning. He walked two, allowed three
hits and left with the bases juiced and nobody out.
Mark Watson made his line look better by inducing a
force-out at home and a double-play in relief of
John Birtwell allowed his first run of the season in
the ninth. He allowed three hits and a walk before
departing with a run-in, one-out and the bases loaded.
Melissa Lockard is the publisher of OaklandDugout.com, the A’s equivalent to Inside The Ivy. Send feedback to Melissa here.
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