A great pitching performance by Garrett Gould and Yasiel Puig’s first Cal League home run helped the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes to a 4-2 victory over the High Desert Mavericks (Mariners) on Tuesday night at The Epicenter. With the win and a loss by the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres), the Quakes are now in sole possession of the final Wild Card berth with only six games remaining.
The Mavs got on the board in the top of the first inning on a solo home run by second baseman Steven Proscia but Gould was able to retire former teammate Leon Landry and catcher John Hicks without further damage.
In the bottom of the first and with two outs, Puig launched a solo shot over the left field wall to tie the score at 1-1. The Quakes added single runs in the second and third innings and the Mavericks tacked on a run in the 6th to make the score 3-2. The Quakes added a huge insurance run in the bottom of the 8th to take a 4-2 lead and the eventual final score.
Gould allowed both runs (1 earned) on 5 hits while striking out 4 and allowing no walks in his six innings of work. He was relieved by left-hander Michael Thomas, who allowed only one hit with a strikeout in two innings. Quakes closer Eric Eadington pitched a scoreless 9th to pick up his 21st save of the season.
In addition to his first home run as a member of the Quakes, Puig also had a single to go 2 for 4 on the night. Since his August 14th promotion from the Arizona Rookie League, Puig is hitting .386 (17 for 44) with 4 RBIs. Quakes left fielder Austin Gallagher continued swinging a hot bat going 3 for 4 with two doubles and a RBI. Third baseman Pedro Baez also went 3 for 4 with a double and a RBI.
After videoing Puig’s first Cal League home run, I decided to walk out of the Epicenter to check the area beyond the left field wall where Puig’s ball had landed. Sure enough, there it was. I offered to give it to him but he did not want it. Yasiel was kind enough to sign it for me: