On the field, Sean Gilmartin’s 26th birthday appeared to go almost as well as it could have Sunday.
The 51s starter tossed six innings, giving up just six hits and a run while picking up his fourth win of the season in the team’s 9-1 victory over the River Cats at Raley Field.
“Gilmartin pitched a really good game,” manager Wally Backman said. “I think Gilmartin set the tone the way he pitched the game.”
And just for good measure, he went 2-for-3 at the plate, driving in the first run of the game to help his own cause.
“He can swing the bat a little bit,” Backman said. He doesn’t hurt himself at the plate, that’s for sure.”
And he got plenty of help at the plate from his teammates, too.
For the second time this season, four different 51s homered in a game.
The 51s got solo shots from Marc Krauss, Ty Kelly and Dilson Herrera as part of a four-run fourth inning to break the game open, and T.J. Rivera hit the other — a two-run homer — in the team’s four-run fifth.
Six different players — Herrera, Rivera, Kelly, Gilmartin, Brandon Nimmo and Roger Bernadina — finished the day with two or more hits.
The 51s chased starter Clayton Blackburn, one of San Francisco’s top prospects, out of the game after scoring five runs in four innings against him.
The last time Blackburn faced the 51s, Las Vegas scored just a run off him as he pitched into the ninth inning.
“He slowed the tempo of the game way down today and (the last time) we faced him, he was quick, quick, quick but his tempo of the game today was totally different than it was when we saw him the first time,” Backman said.
Backman said it looked like Blackburn never got into a rhythm. That affected him and the 51s took advantage for their second straight win over Sacramento.
“It was a real solid game today, I thought,” he said. “Well played defensively, some timely hits, big hits with the home runs and Gilmartin just kept those hitters off balance all day long.”
Shortstop Gavin Cecchini sat for the second straight day with a sore back.
Backman said Cecchini started to feel it during the first game of the series on Friday.
Cecchini was 1-for-4 with two runs driven in in that game and had been starting to heat up at the plate.
“When he comes in there and says he feels better — he was sore today still — so if he says he’s better tomorrow, I’ll probably still give him one day and then he’ll start when we get home,” Backman said.
Who: Las Vegas 51s at Sacramento River Cats
When: 7:05 p.m. today
Where: Raley Field
Starters: Rafael Montero (1-1, 6.50 ERA) vs. Chris Heston (0-1, 5.54 ERA)
Tuesday: El Paso at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: El Paso at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: El Paso at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: El Paso at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Las Vegas at Oklahoma City, 5:05 p.m.
Less than a year ago, Heston was in the majors, tossing a no-hitter against the 51s’ parent club. Heston no-hit the Mets last June, striking out 11 in the process. He’s been back and forth between the majors and minors since then, but is scheduled to start tonight in the 51s-Sacramento series finale.
Betsy Helfand/Las Vegas Review-Journal. For more coverage of the 51s, go to ReviewJournal.com/51s