Kutz still spotless on mound
There's a reason they call it a pitcher's best friend.
Joél Torres and Joe Horn turned two beautiful double plays on Thursday to help the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox (23-5, 19-4) complete a three-game season sweep of the Sacramento Scorch (11-6, 3-5) with a 3-1 win at All Seasons RV Stadium.
The double plays accounted for two of five Scorch baserunners the Gold Sox defense erased off the basepaths, key to the win in a game in which Sacramento out hit Yuba-Sutter 7-6.
Second baseman Torres made the best play of the night with nobody out in the top of the ninth.
Alberto Rolon walked Tyler Sabatke to lead off the inning, and Dave Vetter followed with a grounder into the hole between first and second.
Torres ranged left, fielded the ball on the run, spun 360 degrees and threw a strike to shortstop Horn covering second.
Horn slid easily across the bag as he took the throw and fired to A.J. Valentine at first to complete the 4-6-3 double play that all but clinched the victory.
“That's the hardest play for a second baseman to make,” Rolon said. “It's hardest to go to your left and then make the 360 turn to throw to the base.”
Even Yuba-Sutter manager Brad Peek was impressed.
“That was the best double play all year,” he said. “Going to his left like that. It's not only getting to the ball, but it's being able to make a good throw to second. That was a big league play.”
Rolon fanned Chris Rinuado to end the game and collect his second save of the summer.
Rolon has moved into the late-inning role Chris Chavez had been in before being signed by the Kansas City Royals.
Horn and Torres also erased Sabatke and Vetter with a double play in the fourth that started on a soft grounder to Horn and went 6-4-3 to Torres and then Valentine.
In the third inning, Horn and starting pitcher Given Kutz (5-0) got together to pick off Sutter native Zack Zwissig at second base.
In the sixth, left-fielder Matt Suleski gunned down Steve Rinuado at the plate, and then on the very next play, center-fielder Etienne Materre caught Sabatke napping on the basepaths and threw him out at first before he could tag up on a fly ball.
“We got a little fortunate that they made some baserunning mistakes,” Peek said.
Yuba-Sutter was efficient on offense too - stranding three runners, and just one in scoring position.
Torres tripled to lead off the bottom of the first, and two batters later, Doug Thennis drove him in with a single.
Thennis then stole second before coming home on an RBI-single by A.J. Valentine.
The Gold Sox had just one baserunner in the next six
innings, and in the seventh a potential rally fizzled when Suleski was thrown out trying to steal third with one out.
But in the ninth, Materre reached on an error, moved to second on a Torres sacrifice bunt and scored on Thennis' second RBI-single of the night.
Sacramento scored its only run in the fifth when Darontaye Hollins hit a double to drive in Ross Elemdorf.
Kutz, whom Peek said didn't have his best stuff, battled through to become the first Gold Sox pitcher with five wins.
Kutz worked seven innings, surrendered one earned run on seven hits. He struck out five and had no walks.
“That's just a guy fighting through,” Peek said. “It's something they have to learn. They won't always have their best stuff.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Nathan D. Collier can be reached at 749-4714. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.