Sacramento River Cats

River Cats still celebrating, now a win away from Triple-A championship

The Sacramento River Cats celebrate their 8-7 win over the Round Rock Express Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, after Game one of the PCL Championship at Raley Field.
The Sacramento River Cats celebrate their 8-7 win over the Round Rock Express Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, after Game one of the PCL Championship at Raley Field. jpierce@sacbee.com

More champagne, please.

For the second successive weekend, the River Cats basked in a celebratory clubhouse, spraying each other with bottles of the good stuff.

On Friday night in Texas, Sacramento defeated the Round Rock Express 7-5 on the strength of a three-run eighth inning to sweep the Pacific Coast League series in three games after winning games 1 and 2 at Raley Field.

Sacramento beat Las Vegas in five games to take the PCL semifinal series.

This is the fifth PCL championship for the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate and first since 2008, when the team was connected with the A’s.

Friday also marked the first Triple-A title of any sort for the Giants franchise since 1977 with the Phoenix Giants.

And there’s more work to do be done, one final game and one final road trip.

Sacramento on Tuesday plays the Columbus Clippers in Memphis for the Triple-A national championship. The Clippers are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians and are the International League champions.

In the eighth inning against Round Rock, the Houston Astros’ affiliate, the River Cats had three straight walks before a soft liner by Abiatal Avelino ricocheted off the glove of pitcher Ralph Garza, the ball ending up in right field, scoring two for a 6-5 lead.

Mike Gerber had a ground-out RBI to make it 7-5 for the River Cats, and Enderson Franco sealed it in relief with a five-out save. His three postseason saves are a River Cats record.

Avelino was the Game 1 hero at Raley Field with a walk-off hit.

Sacramento scored its seven runs without any extra-base hits.

Tuesday’s Triple-A finale starts at 5 p.m. It will be broadcast live on FS1 and on the radio with longtime play-by-play voice Johnny Doskow on 105.5 FM.

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