The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes made an impressive come back from an early 4-0 deficit to the High Desert Mavericks on Tuesday night and took a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the 9th inning at Stater Brothers Stadium, only to give up two runs without recording an out for a heartbreaking walk-off 7-6 loss – this in spite of three Quakes home runs.
Quakes starting pitcher Jon Michael Redding gave up back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the first inning, a three-run shot by Julio Pimentel followed by a solo shot by Jordy Lara. To his credit, Redding settled down and didn’t allow another run through his next 4 innings.
The Quakes picked up a run in the 3rd inning and two more in the 4th inning on a monster two-run home run to center field by Dodgers 2012 first round draft pick Corey Seager – his second home run in as many games, fourth since being promoted to the Quakes on August 2nd, and 16th of the season.
Quakes catcher Chris O’Brien added a solo home run in the 7th inning followed by an RBI double off the bat of O’Koyea Dickson to tie the score at 5.
Quakes second baseman Darnell Sweeney connected for his tenth home run of the season in the top of the 9th to give the Quakes a 6-5 lead but the Quakes left a huge insurance run stranded on third base.
Right-hander Craig Stem was brought in for the save but Jamal Austin smashed the first pitch he saw off of the batter’s eye in straightaway center field for a leadoff triple. Stem’s next pitch was a sharp grounder to Sweeney at second base off the bat of Ketel Marte. Sweeney came home with the throw but O’Brien was unable to handle the short hop allowing Austin to score and Marte to advance to second base. With no outs and a runner at second, Stem intentionally walked Kevin Rivers bringing Patrick Kivlehan to the plate. Kivlehan smashed a deep fly ball into the right field gap for a walk-off double to end the game.
The loss coupled with wins by the Lake Elsinore Storm and the Inland Empire 66ers dropped the Quakes a half game back of the Storm and into a tie with the 66ers for the Cal League South’s final Wild Card playoff berth with only 13 games remaining, including 8 with the first place Lancaster JetHawks who have already secured a playoff berth. The Quakes play two more at High Desert before moving across the Antelope Valley for four games against the JetHawks. They then return home on August 27 to conclude the 2013 regular season.