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Bart, Estrada launch homers as River Cats win opener

May 7, 2021 - Triple-A West League (AAA West) - Sacramento River Cats News Release

Las Vegas, Nev. - The Sacramento River Cats (1-0) played their first baseball game since winning the Triple-A National Championship on September 17, 2019, and did so in blowout fashion against the Las Vegas Aviators (0-1).

Catcher Joey Bart, making his Triple-A debut, lined an opposite-field shot into right field in the seventh to put Sacramento up 5-1 before shortstop Thairo Estrada sealed the deal with a towering three-run homer to right-center field an inning later. The game had remained close until the late innings, as Aviators right-hander James Kaprielian danced around nine baserunners in less than five innings to allow just three runs.

For the River Cats, it was former first-round pick Tyler Beede making his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March of 2020. His rehab start saw the former Vanderbilt star strike out two of the three Aviators he faced before giving way to Kervin Castro. Left-hander Anthony Banda played the long reliever and did some dancing of his own, issuing six walks in his four-plus innings but surrendered just one unearned run.

The River Cats are back at it tomorrow night to face the Oakland A's affiliate in game two of this six-game series. Right-hander Nick Tropeano will be on the hill making his San Francisco Giants organizational debut after spending 2020 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the previous five seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. Fellow righty Parker Dunshee will take the ball for the Aviators. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. (PT). Listen to all of the action live online at, on the MiLB First Pitch app.

Additional Notes

Joey Bart's path to Triple-A baseball was an unusual one as he made his big-league debut prior to playing a single game in the top level of the minor leagues. Bart split time between High-A San Jose and Double-A Richmond in 2019 before getting called up from the Alternate Training Site to make his Giants debut on August 20, 2020.

Even more unusual, hard-throwing righty Gregory Santos also made his Triple-A debut after reaching the big leagues. But for the 21-year old Santos, he had previously never pitched higher than Class-A Augusta.

Not factoring into any of the team's eight runs but putting on a show at the plate was second baseman Jason Krizan, who finished the opener going 3-for-5 with two doubles.

Right-hander Dominic Leone picked up where he left off at the Alternate Site, continuing his dominance of Oakland A's affiliated hitters. He faced five batters and struck out three of them in his late-inning appearance Thursday night.

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