For the third time in the last four games, the Blaze worked overtime. This for a team that had not played an extra-inning game until last Friday. They are now 2-1 in those contests. They also come home 2-1 for the series in Modesto.
After the Blaze took a 7-6 lead into the ninth, the Nuts tied it up in the bottom half to send it into extra sessions. A ground ball single by Nolan Arenado scored Mike Zuanich, who had doubled in the previous at bat. In the Bakersfield half of the 10th, after leadoff man Stephen Hunt struck out, things began to heat up again. A ground ball single by Ryan LaMarre put the potential go ahead run on base. Chris Richburg then smacked a line drive single to right, advancing LaMarre to third and in serious scoring position. With Andrew Means grounding into a force play at second, it was all the Blaze needed to score LaMarre and take an 8-7 lead. Means was then picked off at first to end the inning.
Of the three errors Bakersfield committed for the game, none were more costly than in the Nuts half of the 10th. Dallas Tarleton began the inning by drawing a walk. Angelys Nina flied out to right, followed by Orlando Sandoval, who struck out swinging. Delta Cleary also struck out swinging, but the third strike got away from Yasmani Grandal, who then committed the costly throwing error that put Cleary on base and allowed Tarlton to take third. The extra out proved costly indeed, as Josh Rutledge then drove in Tarlton with a fly ball to right field. The score was now tied again at 8-8, and of course, nobody was able to go home just yet.
With neither team scoring in the 11th, fans had to wonder just how long this Monday night encounter was going to take. After all, most of us have to go to work Tuesday morning right? It turned out not much longer, thankfully. The Blaze responded in the 12th, on both offense and defense.
A Grandal walk, Eric Campbell single, and Stephen Hunt intentional walk loaded the bases with no outs. After a LaMarre pop up, Chris Richburg delivered a sacrifice fly ball to center that scored Grandal. Andrew Means was then hit by a pitch, again loading the bases. Henry Rodriguez came in to pinch hit for Jose Gualdron, then drew a walk to force in another run and put the Blaze in front 10-8 going to the Nuts half of the inning. After a pitching change brought in Doug Salinas to replace Ryan Smith, Salinas did his job and did it well. He incurred two ground outs and a fly out to center, ending the game with a Blaze 10-8 victory.
The victory lifts the Blaze to sole possession of second place (25-20) and improves their road record to 15-9 (best in the division). Let’s see if they can bring that kind of road success to their upcoming home stand. It starts Wednesday night versus league leader San Jose.