Gold Sox reduce magic number to two
Streaks and slumps - both happen in baseball, and neither last forever.
Joél Torres and Johnathan Dees were on opposite sides of that equation coming into Thursday, Torres with a six-game hitting streak and Dees struggling through a 0-for-16 drought.
But Dees broke out of it, smacking a two-RBI double in the first inning and then lifting a two-run home run over the left-field wall in the fourth to lead the Gold Sox (34-8, 29-7) to a 13-1 win over the NorCal Longhorns.
“It was a change-up, middle-in,” Dees said. “I put a good swing on it, and it happened to go out.”
“He's been going through a bit of a slump,” Yuba-Sutter manager Brad Peek said of Dees. “It was nice to see him get some confidence back.”
Torres didn't disappoint either, notching singles in the first and the seventh to stretch his streak to seven games. It was his 15th game with two or more hits.
A.J. Valentine also had a big game, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
Yuba-Sutter starter Tyler Pearson (6-1) was untouchable in four of his five innings of work. He struck out 11, walked two and allowed two hits and no runs for his sixth win of the season.
“Pearson was dominating tonight,” Peek said. “I think he felt really good, and he had a really live fastball.”
Pearson struggled only in the second, giving up two singles and a walk in the inning.
Michael Hall relieved Pearson in the sixth and went the rest of the way. He gave up two hits and one earned run while striking out one and walking three to earn his first save of the season.
The win puts the Gold Sox 31/2 games ahead on the Humbolt Crabs in the McCullough Division of the Horizon Air Summer Series standings. Two more Gold Sox wins will clinch the division title.
Etienne Materre added two hits for the Gold Sox, and Brett Nightingale drove in two. Doug Thennis had a double.
Six straight Gold Sox - Thennis, Nightingale, Valentine, Matt Suleski, Materre and Dees - scored runs in the first inning, all with two outs.
Yuba-Sutter sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning.
Thennis added a run in the second, Torres and Norfolk crossed in the third, and Dees made it 11-0 with his blast in the fourth, his second home run of the season.
NorCal's only run came in the seventh when Chris Denny-Brown came home from third on a fielder's choice. Starter Donte Snyder took the loss. He gave up nine hits and 11 runs in four innings.
“It was a good overall team win,” Peek said. “It's one more game off the schedule.”
Notes: Yuba-Sutter will play NorCal three more times this weekend. ... Ryan Zaft is scheduled to start tonight for the Gold Sox.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Nathan D. Collier can be reached at 749-4714. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.