The 66ers hadn’t swept the Lake Elsinore Storm in any series since June 10-12, 2008, and hadn’t swept a series at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore since July 31-August 2, 2007.
So despite each pitching staff walking a season-high 11 batters and the Sixers leaving 13 men on base, the Sixers’ 10-8 victory over host Lake Elsinore was a thing of beauty for them, giving the Sixers a three-game sweep and a fifth straight win.
It gives the team a lot of momentum heading home for a three-game series against Lancaster. Manny Ramirez is expected to play in a rehabilitation assignment for Saturday’s game.
The Sixers snapped a 6-6 tie with four runs in the top of the ninth, the last two of which were unearned against Aaron Breit (2-5). Chris Gutierrez’s RBI double snapped the tie, and an insurance run scored on a fielding error by Jesus Lopez on a Brad Ausmus grounder. Two more runs scored to make it 10-6 on a bases-loaded walk by Travis Denker and a sacrifice fly by Pedro Baez, which proved important.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Storm rallied. Allan Dykstra hit a leadoff homer and Jesus Lopez walked before Adam Zornes struck out against Brandon Mann (3-0), who had allowed the tying run to score in the eighth.
Matt Sartor (fifth save) then replaced Mann and allowed an RBI single to Daniel Robertson to make it 10-8, and a double off the wall in right by Cole Figueroa, after Vince Belnome walked for the fourth time in the game to load the bases, Sartor got Cody Decker to pop up and Jaff Decker to fly out to end the game.
It was the second straight crazy win. On Thursday, the Sixers trailed 4-2 entering the ninth, only to score three times to take the lead. Lake Elsinore tied it 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth before Austin Gallagher’s sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th gave the Sixers the lead. They had to hold on, however, as the Storm left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th.
Manny Ramirez, appearing in his second game for the 66ers as part of a rehabilitation assignment for a strained right calf, went 0-for-1 with a walk, a run scored and a strikeout before coming out of the game for a pinch-hitter. It appears to be his last rehab game with the Sixers. Prior to the game, he was expected to be activated from the disabled list by the Dodgers on Saturday.
If he does nothing more in his career, Clay Calfee can say he once pinch-hit for Manny Ramirez. Of course, people don’t need to know that it was in a Single-A rehab game. Calfee pinch-hit for Ramirez in the fifth inning. Ramirez played left field, but did not have a single ball hit to him.
He did have an adventure on the basepaths. After Ramirez walked in the first inning, Justin Sellers also walked. With one out, Travis Denker hit a line drive right back at Nick Schmidt.
Schmidt couldn’t catch it, but knocked it down. Ramirez, apparently thinking it had been caught, stayed close to second. Schmidt didn’t realize it and threw to first to retire Denker.
That’s when Ramirez took off for third. First baseman Allan Dykstra noticed that and tried to throw him out. But the throw sailed high over third baseman Vince Belnome and Ramirez trotted home to put the Sixers up 1-0.
Manny Ramirez IS with the 66ers in Lake Elsinore. He just finished stretching and is about to take batting practice. He is set to bat leadoff and play left field as he rehabilitates from a right calf injury.
He played on Tuesday in the first game of his rehab assignment and was 1-for-3. He originally was expected to play Wednesday and tonight, but he just took batting practice with the Dodgers Wednesday. Undoubtedly there were some fans who showed up Wednesday in Lake Elsinore expecting to see Manny. The Storm promoted it and I could see several Ramirezs jerseys among the crowd. But he is here tonight in what is expected to be his last appearance with the Sixers.