The Quakes didn’t need to win Wednesday. They had already clinched a playoff spot earlier in the evening, thanks to Lancaster’s loss to Lake Elsinore.
But they didn’t lay down, either. Trailing the Mavericks 8-2 in the fifth inning the Quakes scored two runs in the fifth, two in the seventh, one in the eighth and two in the ninth to win 9-8 at the Epicenter on Mike Trout’s four-pitch walk-off walk with two outs. Gabe Jacobo’s team-leading 21st homer of the season leading off the inning had tied the score.
It was the second time this season the Quakes rallied to win after trailing by as many as six runs. On July 12, also at home and also against the Mavericks, the Quakes trailed 7-1 in the sixth before rallying to win 8-7 on Clay Fuller’s RBI single with one out in the ninth.
The offense will get much of the credit for Wednesday’s win, and deservedly so. Trout had two hits, including a home run, and drove in three. Jacobo was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. Angel Castillo hit his 20th homer, a two-run shot, in the comeback.
But the bullpen was just as important. Michael Piazza and Matt Meyer (1-0) combined to pitch 4 1/3 hitless innings of relief after starter Orangel Arenas couldn’t make it through the fifth.
After building the 8-2 lead, the Mavericks managed only one baserunner over the final four innings, a two-out walk by Jake Shaffer in the sixth. Piazza and Meyer then retired the final 10 Mavericks they faced.
The regular season ends on Monday and the Quakes and Mavericks will face each other in the first round beginning Wednesday. It remains to be determined which team will host the best-of-three first round series.