The Independence Day game — whether it’s actually on the Fourth of July or not — is a great time for a big victory.
A day after losing by 10 runs, the Quakes moved back into a tie for first place in the South Division with a solid 5-3 victory over the 66ers before 7,025 at the Epicenter on Thursday.
The Quakes are not home Friday, so the big fireworks show was Thursday. The Quakes were only 74 fans short of their all-time attendance record, set on July 4, 2002.
The Quakes, Sixers and Mavericks (all 8-6 in the second half) are tied for first place in the South Division.
Quakes starter Sean O’Sullivan (9-4) settled down after the Sixers looked like they were in for an extension of Wednesday’s 18-run outburst by scoring three runs in the first inning. Carlos Santana had his league-leading 78th RBI, a run-scoring single, and Austin Gallagher (RBI double) and Jaime Pedroza (RBI single) had run-scoring hits in the first. O’Sullivan lasted five innings, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out five.
The Quakes tied it up with three in the fourth against Sixers starter Alberto Bastardo as Peter Bourjos had an RBI single, P.J. Phillips followed with an RBI double and Phillips later scored on a wild pitch.
Drew Toussaint’s RBI double in the fifth against Javy Guerra (1-3) gave the Quakes the lead for good and Abel Nieves added a sacrifice fly in the sixth for an insurance run.
Brian Rembisz (two innings), Trevor Bell (one inning) and David Herndon (one inning) pitched shutout relief. Herndon improved to eight-for-eight in save opportunities.
The Sixers will get a chance to win in front of a big crowd on Friday, when they host their Independence Day celebration against the Mavericks.