To 51s manager Marty Brown, there’s a big difference between a loss and a giveaway.
Brown said his pitching staff gave one away on Sunday.
Four Las Vegas pitchers issued 10 walks and the Sacramento River Cats took full advantage, cruising to a 6-1 victory before an announced crowd of 1,750 at Cashman Field.
“We walked 10 batters,” Brown said. “That’s pretty much it.”
The River Cats needed only three batters to build a 2-0 first-inning lead. Grant Green walked, stole second and went to third on an error by 51s shortstop Jonathan Diaz before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Daric Barton. Chris Carter then followed with a solo homer.
But despite giving up three walks in the first, Las Vegas starter Andrew Carpenter (5-3) escaped further damage and settled down over the next five innings.
“He’s had those first-inning struggles in the past,” Brown said. “We’ve talked to him about being aggressive in the first inning. He made some adjustments and pitched better after that. He gave us a chance to win today, but unfortunately we didn’t get big hitting.”
Las Vegas missed a chance in the third, coming up empty after putting runners on second and third with one out.
The 51s cut the deficit to 2-1 in the fifth when Ricardo Nanita opened with a double off the left-field wall and scored on Chris Woodward’s single up the middle. Las Vegas put runners on the corners with one out, but the rally was cut short when Travis Snider lined into a double play.
“We had a couple of chances,” Brown said. “When Snider’s up, you feel pretty good about your chances. Today, he got out in front of some off-speed pitches and didn’t get the job done.”
The River Cats added an insurance run in the eighth inning when Las Vegas reliever Jim Hoey struggled to find the strike zone. After walking three of the first four batters he faced, Hoey issued another free pass to Adam Rosales to force in Sacramento’s third run.
The River Cats put the game away in the top of the ninth when Barton hit a solo home run off 51s reliever Jerry Gil and Stephen Parker followed with a towering two-run blast over the right-field wall to make it 6-1.
“When they put up a three-spot in the ninth, that’s a big hole to dig out of,” Brown said.
The 51s went down quietly in the ninth, allowing the River Cats (48-29) to maintain first place over Fresno in the Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern Division. Third-place Las Vegas (43-33) trails Sacramento by 4½ games.
■ NOTES - The Toronto Blue Jays recalled 51s first baseman Adam Lind and optioned second baseman Mike McCoy and first baseman David Cooper to Las Vegas. Lind hit .392 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs in 32 games with the 51s.SACRAMENTO 6, LAS VEGAS 1
KEY: Four 51s pitchers issued 10 walks, and the River Cats took advantage with timely hitting.
NEXT: River Cats (RHP Graham Godfrey) at 51s (RHP Joel Carreno), 7:05 p.m. today, KBAD-AM (920)