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SacramentoGame #5 –  Erik Bedard vs. Matt Cain

Tied 2-2, we are entering an entirely new series folks. It’s now a best of three, and every game matters.  Erik BEDARD steps on the mound for Sacramento; however, with a day off coming up and a strong bullpen, manager George Skiles has decided to keep BEDARD a very short leash.  No one knows what to expect from Tempe manager Chris Douglass when it comes to Cain–his third start in 5 games.  What we can guess is that CAIN won’t be out on the mound long … which Sacramento can’t be too disappointed to hear.

This is a BIG championship game, and it’s bound to be a good one at that.  BEDARD’s on the mound and Curtis GRANDERSON steps up to the plate.  The pitch … GRANDERSON sends a blooper to left center and drops in between Torii HUNTER and J.J. HARDY for a well placed single.  Melky CABRERA up and launches BEDARD’s pitch the opposite way.  GRANDERSON was off and running … looks like a hit and run, but Josh WILLINGHAM got a great jump on it.  He’s at the wall … and he brings it down.  The entire stadium breathes a sigh of relief.  One down and Hunter PENCE facing BEDARD, but GRANDERSON’s not patient … he’s off and running … BEDARD delivers … PENCE swings and a misses … Yadier MOLINA fires to second and nails him! … great throw by MOLINA!  Tempe loses the runner and, potentially, the momentum.  PENCE still up, this time no one on and two outs; the pitch … PENCE hits it hard, but not far … a Baltimore chop in front of the plate; MOLINA waits for it … rifles a throw to first … and the ump thumbs PENCE out to retire the side. The first would not prove more effective for Sacramento.  Matt CAIN fans Daniel MURPHY, and induces long fly outs from both Kevin YOUKILIS and CANO.  The game would remain uneventful up until the 4th inning. In fact, neither team landed a hit. Attempting to get things going in the bottom of the 3rd, Sacramento manager George Skiles pulled BEDARD after three scoreless innings with the hopes of creating a spark … a spark in the name of … Nyjer MORGAN; MORGAN will pinch hit for him … bats left … he grabs a bat and heads toward the plate.  Let’s listen to the anouncers: … strike three! … and MORGAN is hopping mad … he’s jumping up and down no, wait … he’s not angry … he’s hurt … the pitch hit him that’s his 1st time clobbered in the series … MORGAN’s in pain … but he seems to be OK and he trots down to first.” Well, I’m sure that wasn’t what the manager had in mind, but it’ll do.  One out, one on, and Daniel MURPHY at the plate … the pitch … a little roller to the right side … PEDROIA running in he pounces on it … flips it to first … out at first … two away … MORGAN now at second; Youkilis keeps the “rally” going with by drawing a base on balls.  Runners on 1st and 2nd with CANO at the plate; can he do it?  The pitch … CANO lofts a routine fly ball to center … CABRERA moves under it … and hauls it in. Three down!  The Capitals waste an opportunity they may not get back.

With BEDARD out, Sacramento brings in Koji UEHARA for UEHARA his 4th appearance in the series, and faces a 1-2-3 inning. CABRERA K’s; PENCE flies out to HUNTER; and TULOWITZKI lofts it to center for an easy out by HUNTER.  Bottom of the 4th, CAIN faces the heart of the Capitals’ order: Pujols, Hardy, Willingham.  Pujols up to the plate—popped up … one out.  Hardy next; it’s hit high and deep … CABRERA is on the run … it’s starting to tail away from him … and it drops in … HARDY is headed for second he’s in to second ahead of the throw.  One out and the go-ahead run on 2nd, Willingham steps up to the plate.  He’s been quiet thus far.  CAIN comes home with it … lined hard to left … base hit … GRANDERSON’s racing over he cuts it off … rounding third HARDY, but with only one out and a hot Yadier MOLINA up next, the third base coach played it conservative and held up HARDY. Tough call.  MOLINA facing CAIN with one out, runners at the corners, TEMPERS playing for the double play … CAIN brings it to the plate … MOLINA turns this ball around … it’s soaring to center

CABRERA turns and gives chase … the boarding house reach … it’s over his head, off the base of the wall … CABRERA corrals the ball … HARDY scores and WILLINGHAM rounds third, but holds.  Still one out, with runners on 2nd and 3rd, Torii HUNTER walking to the plate to face CAIN.  CAIN brings it, and HUNTER pops it up to PEDROIA—two outs, two on, UEHARA facing M. CAIN.  Wait, what’s going on? Sacramento manager George Skiles is leaving UEHARA in to bat with runners on 2nd and 3rd?  CAIN lets one go, and it’s popped foul behind first; PEDROIA calls off GONZALEZ to make the catch.  What was he thinking?  Skiles just might lose his job over that call.  With such a deep bullpen and a day off tomorrow, we’ll see what he has to say about it after the game.  Regardless, Sacramento takes the lead. TEMPERS 0, CAPITALS 1.

Unfortunately for Tempe, they just couldn’t get anything going through the 5th, 6th and 7th innings.  Sacramento, however, was just getting started.  Bottom of the 6th, Capitals still lead 1-0, CLIPPARD is now on the mound for Tempe, with HARDY leading off the inning.  CLIPPARD’s pitch … slashed to right for a single … it’s in there … PENCE fields it … HARDY starts for second but he’s quickly back … as the throw comes in to TULOWITZKI … single for HARDY.  With no outs, Josh WILLINGHAM follows up HARDY’s single with a shot over the right field wall for a two-run dinger. TEMPERS 0, CAPITALS 3.  That would be all in the 6th for the Capitals, but while the Tempers couldn’t get anything going in the 7th, the Capitals continued to build on their cushion.  With no outs, MOLINA, still facing CLIPPARD, and hits it high and deep … CABRERA is on the run … it’s starting to tail away from him, and it drops in … MOLINA in to second ahead of the throw for his 2nd double of the game and his 5th double of the series. HUNTER follows up MOLINA’s double with a no-out base hit to right field, while manager George Skiles holds Molina and Hunter at 1st and 3rd with no outs.  The Capitals announce Brett PILL to pinch hit for GUERRA, a no brainer given the Capitals absent-minded decision in the 4th inning.  In return, TEMPERS manager, Chris Douglass, again asks CLIPPARD for the ball, bringing in Ryan MADSON … who promptly fans PILL for the 1st out.  CAPITALS manager makes another move, bringing in Ryan ROBERTS and pulling BOURGEOIS, in hopes of the big hit against MADSON.  Let’s listen to the announcers: “ROBERTS facing MADSON, infielders back … the runners take their lead … he wheels and deals, and it’s batted sharply toward second base … TULOWITZKI is over and snares it on one hop, steps on the bag … and fires it on to GONZALEZ … bang! bang! … double play!  and they get out of the inning. So, the Capitals get two out of the 6th, but hoped for much more.  Bringing in Mariano Rivera a little early, and Mitch MAIER as a defensive backup in left field, the Capitals hope to shut this one down in the top of the 7th inning.  would hold the Tempers scoreless for another inning; Rivera quickly induces PENCE to fly out to center, TULOWITZKI to single to right field, BELTRE to grounds it to Rivera who gets TULO at 2nd, and gets AGONE to strike out for the third out.  TEMPERS 0, CAPITALS 3, bottom of the 7th.  YOUKILIS facing MADSON, doubles to right center; CANO grounds out to TULO but moves YOUKILIS to third, setting up the RBI opportunity for PUJOLS.  From the announcers: PUJOLS, facing MADSON, with TEMPERS playing for the out at first … YOUKILIS off third … MADSON brings it, hit hard toward the gap in right center … PENCE races back … he won’t get it, it’s off the wall … YOUKILIS trots home … and PUJOLS cruises in to second, double and an RBI. HARDY, still facing MADSON, squibs it back to the mound, moving PUJOLS to 3rd but earning himself the 2nd out.  TEMPE’s had enough, and brings in Josh SPENCE to face WILLINGHAM … who’s had a good game thus far.  Again, let’s listen to the announcers: “WILLINGHAM facing SPENCE, … the pitch … big swing … it’s a dying quail to right … PENCE gallops in … PEDROIA races back, but it parachutes between them … a Texas League single for WILLINGHAM … PUJOLS scores easily and WILLINGHAM has the RBI. TEMPERS 0, CAPITALS 5, and that would be all the Capitals would need to close out Game 5 of the NLCS.

The TEMPERS would score 2 runs in the top of the 9th, making the game a bit closer than the Capitals were comfortable with.  With RIVERA out of the game, Darren OLIVER faces GRANDERSON, only to give him a free pass; CABRERA immediately slashes Oliver’s pitch into the hole on the right side for a textbook hit-and-run.  And, that earns OLIVER’s exit, on comes Edgmer ESCALONA to shut it down.  Facing PENCE … infielders back … he delivers … ground ball to second … CANO to his left … he has it goes to first … and he gets him … and there’s one away … but the run scores, and CABRERA moves to second; TULOWITZKI walks up to the plate to do his thing … the pitch … TULOWITZKI tops it down the third base line, YOUKILIS gets his glove on it … now the long throw … PUJOLS scoops it on one hop, and TULOWITZKI is retired … and CABRERA moves to third with two outs.  BELTRE’s turn facing ESCALONA; the pitch to BELTRE … swung on … blooper down the right field line … WILLINGHAM racing in, it drops … CABRERA coming down the line … and he scores, and BELTRE slips going around first … he’s headed for second … the throw … the tag, and he’s safe! … double and an RBI. TEMPERS 2, CAPITALS 5. And that would be it.  GONZALEZ grounds to shortstop for the third out and the end of Game 5.  Score shows it was closer than the game actually was, but it certainly showed that TEMPE is NEVER out of it.

Thus far, each home team has won.  Sacramento returns to Tempe for Games 6 and, if necessary, Game 7.  The battle is on!

WP: Ueuhara (1-0)
LP: Cain (0-1)

WEDNESDAY 07/17/2019
AT 11:59 PM - ET!