Both the Quakes and 66ers opened the 2013 California League season at home on Thursday night, and both came through with exciting victories.
After blowing a 4-0 lead, the Sixers’ Ryan Jones’ third hit of the game, a single with one out in the 12th inning, scored the game-winning walk-off run in a 5-4 win over Modesto before 3,128 at San Manuel Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Quakes rallied from a 4-0 deficit and Scott Schebler’s three-run homer with two outs in the eighth lifted the Quakes to a 5-4 win over Lake Elsinore before 3,811 at newly renamed LoanMart Field.
Quakes manager Carlos Subero said that probably “eight” of the players on the 18-man Quakes roster for Thursday’s exhibition game will be on the Quakes’ opening day roster one week from tonight.
First baseman Angelo Songco, who had two hits, including the walk-off single, who played with the Quakes parts of each of the last two years, said he expects to be back in Rancho Cucamonga. Subero said Songco could start with the Quakes, but any injuries at higher levels would likely push him to Double-A.
It was interesting to see former Dodger third base prospect Pedro Baez, who at one point played in the Futures Game as a third baseman, pitch. Baez has been moved to the mound. He gave up the three tying runs in the top of the seventh. But Subero pointed out that only one ball was really hit hard
There is plenty of excitement over Thursday’s exhibition game at the Epicenter and rightfully so. The Dodgers are coming to Rancho Cucamonga.
Of course, Quakes fans have been treated to some high-profile rehabilitation guys last year, including Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. But this is an entire Dodger team, although several of the regulars will be playing in the Freeway Series the same night against the Angels.
But, this is not the first time that a big-league team has come to Rancho Cucamonga to play the Quakes in an exhibition game.
There are 2 games left in the regular season and three teams still alive for 1 playoff spot in the California League’s South Division.
The Quakes entered Saturday leading Lake Elsinore by 1 game, but lost 10-7 at Bakersfield. But that loss wasn’t a huge blow as Lake Elsinore lost to the 66ers, 9-1. Lake Elsinore remains 1 back. And the 66ers are still alive, just 2 games back. If the 66ers win their final 2 and the Quakes lose their final 2, there would be a one-game playoff on Tuesday. The Quakes and Lake Elsinore could also finish in a tie for a playoff spot. Should that happen, the Quakes would host the game on Tuesday based on the head-to-head regular-season record, won by the Quakes, 17-10.
However, if the Quakes and 66ers finish tied, that game would be in San Bernardino on Tuesday, because the 66ers own an 18-7 head-to-head edge on the Quakes.
The Quakes entered play on Tuesday tied with Lake Elsinore with the South Division’s final playoff spot. By the end of Tuesday night, they had sole possession of the spot. The Quakes, behind three hits apiece by Austin Gallagher and Pedro Baez, the first pro home run by Yasiel Puig, and solid pitching by Garrett Gould (5-9), downed High Desert 4-2. Meanwhile, a four-run sixth inning propelled San Jose past Lake Elsinore, 7-4. The Storm’s loss gave the Quakes a one-game lead. Meanwhile, the 66ers, who entered the game three games back of the Quakes and Lake Elsinore, fell to Lancaster 7-2 as Telvin Nash hit a grand slam. The Sixers are now four games back with six to play.
Both the Quakes and 66ers played one-run games on Wednesday. The Quakes pulled out a 7-6 victory in the ninth inning against Stockton, while the 66ers fell 5-4 at Lake Elsinore. The win was the fourth in a row for the Quakes.
C.J. Cron’s two-run homer in the 7th gave the Sixers the lead for good and they held off visiting Lake Elsinore 8-6 on Thursday. The Sixers had trailed 4-1 after four innings, but rallied and Cron’s 21st homer gave the Sixers a 6-5 lead.
Both Quakes and 66ers fell on Wednesday. The Quakes lost 3-2 at Modesto, while the Sixers fell at home to Lake Elsinore 6-3.
The Quakes loss was especially excruciating. Trailing 2-0 entering the ninth, they rallied to tie the score on Austin Gallagher’s two-run single. But in the bottom of the ninth, Joey Wong’s single with two outs scored Juan Crousset from second base to lift the Nuts to victory.