It took a masterful pitching performance to snap the 51s’ season-high tying seven-game winning streak.
Fresno left-hander Eric Surkamp hurled a gem Sunday night at Cashman Field, holding first-place Las Vegas to a run on four hits in a season-high eight innings to lead the Grizzlies to a 4-1 victory.
“He pitched a good game. You’ve got to tip your cap to a guy when he goes out and pitches like he did today,” 51s manager Wally Backman said. “He pitched ahead in the count and he had four pitches working. He’s been a pretty good pitcher all year.”
Surkamp (7-1), who missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, has allowed only seven runs in his last six starts — five of them wins — and pitched at least seven innings in each outing.
He retired the first 10 batters and allowed only two hits in seven innings — a fourth-inning double by to Ruben Tejada and a sixth-inning single by Mike Baxter — before surrendering a run in the eighth, when Brian Bixler and Matt den Dekker hit back-to-back doubles to cut the 51s’ deficit to 4-1.
That’s all Las Vegas could muster as George Kontos pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to gain his fourth save.
Rafael Montero (5-4) took the loss, allowing two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Fresno went ahead 2-0 in the fourth on three straight two-out doubles by Johnny Monell, Chris Dominguez and Carter Jurica.
The Grizzlies (64-71) made it 4-0 in the eighth, when Dominguez drilled another RBI double and scored.
Las Vegas (76-58), which lost for only the fourth time in 22 home games, leads Sacramento (75-61) by two games in the Pacific South Division with 10 games left in the regular season.
The River Cats rolled to a 12-4 victory Sunday over Colorado Springs (64-69), which will host the 51s in a six-game series today through Thursday. The teams will play doubleheaders today and Wednesday.
“We’ll put our best guys out there and try to start another winning streak tomorrow,” Backman said. “Pitching-wise, we’re fine right now. We’ve got seven starters.”
Las Vegas, which is 4-6 against the Sky Sox, split two games in Colorado in April before the next two were postponed because of cold temperatures.
The 51s, gunning for their first Pacific Coast League playoff berth since 2002, will finish the season at home against Tucson in a four-game series Friday through Sept. 2.
Sacramento has eight games remaining — four at home against Fresno and four at Tacoma.
■ NOTES — The start of the game was delayed by 31 minutes because of rain. … San Francisco Giants center fielder Angel Pagan sat out Sunday’s game after going 2-for-7 (.286) with two RBIs for Fresno on Friday and Saturday in the first two games of his rehabilitation assignment (left hamstring).
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.