Kickham's Clout Spurs 'Cakes to Victory
Baby Cakes reliever Mike Kickham hit a game-tying home run in the seventh inning and had five strikeouts in three shutout frames as New Orleans rallied to beat the Fresno Grizzlies on Thursday night, 6-4.
Trailing 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Kickham was allowed to hit for himself and quickly fell behind 0-2 against Grizzlies right-hander Derek Self. But Kickham fouled off seven pitches and worked the count full before sending the 12th pitch of the at-bat over the fence for his second career home run.
Kickham (3-1) came back out to twirl his third scoreless inning in the top of the eighth, and the Baby Cakes' momentum carried over into the bottom half when they strung together the winning rally.
Isan Diaz, who had earlier extended his hitting streak to a season-best eight games, was hit by a pitch from Fernando Rodney and scooted to third on Yadiel Rivera's third single of the night. Rodney (0-1) then uncorked a wild pitch to allow Diaz to race home with the go-ahead run, and Gabriel Guerrero added a sacrifice fly to provide insurance.
R.J. Alvarez retired the side in order in the ninth to nail down his eighth save and a third consecutive series win for the Baby Cakes, who have won eight of their last 11 games.
New Orleans led 3-0 through four innings behind a two-run second-inning homer by Tyler Heineman, his first hit with the 'Cakes, and an RBI single in the third by Lewis Brinson.
Baby Cakes starter Ben Meyer mowed through the Fresno lineup for six strikeouts through four scoreless innings, but labored in the fifth when he hit two batters, walked two more and allowed two hits in a four-run inning to surrender the lead. Yadiel Hernandez delivered the go-ahead two-run single to finish 6-for-12 with six RBI in the three-game set.
The 'Cakes continue the homestand on Friday at 7 p.m. by welcoming the Sacramento River Cats to the Shrine for the first of four meetings.
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