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3 River Cats homer, pitchers shine in Saturday night dub

River Cats 7, Bees 1
River Cats second baseman Isan Díaz lines a two-run home in the third inning against Salt Lake Bees (5/28/22). (Ralph Thompson Photo)
May 29, 2022

West Sacramento, Calif. — Three home runs, and a strong pitching performance by right-hander Sean Hjelle (4-2) and the bullpen powered the Sacramento River Cats (22-25) to a 7-1 victory over the first place Salt Lake Bees (26-21) on Saturday night. The River Cats stormed left-hander José Suarez (1-1) with

West Sacramento, Calif. — Three home runs, and a strong pitching performance by right-hander Sean Hjelle (4-2) and the bullpen powered the Sacramento River Cats (22-25) to a 7-1 victory over the first place Salt Lake Bees (26-21) on Saturday night.

The River Cats stormed left-hander José Suarez (1-1) with five early runs, the first three coming off the bat of first baseman David Villar.

Villar first plated right fielder Heliot Ramos in the first to make it 1-0, then made it 3-0 in the second with his league-leading 15th home run of the season.

Second baseman Isan Díaz made it 5-0 in the third with his second home run of the series, a 416-foot liner to right field.

Hjelle set the tone with his second consecutive dominant start at Sutter Health Park. The 25-year-old struck out three while allowing one run on four hits and two walks in 5.0 innings.

Three River Cats right-handers picked up where Hjelle left off, striking out six over the final 4.0 innings. Kervin Castro struck out one in the sixth, Patrick Ruotolo punched out another three in 2.0 frames, and Mauricio Llovera finished the game off with two punchouts in the ninth.

Lefty Enmanuel De Jesus (1-1, 4.41), who’s coming off his first win of the season, looks to earn the series split with another victory on Sunday. He’ll take on right-hander Davis Daniel (1-1, 4.08) at 1:05 p.m. (PT). Listen to Johnny Doskow call the game online at rivercats.com or on the MiLB First Pitch app.

Additional Notes

  • Shortstop Arquímedes Gamboa provided two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth with a home run to right field, his second big fly of the season.
  • Ramos, San Francisco’s No. 5 prospect on MLB Pipeline, went 3-for-5 with two runs out of the leadoff spot.