After nine years, what's another 90 minutes? Following a delay mandated by Pacific Coast League officials anticipating severe weather that never came, the Memphis Redbirds edged the Sacramento River Cats, 1-0, Tuesday night at Auto Zone Park to win Game 1 of the best-of-five PCL Championship Series. The victory came on the ninth anniversary of Albert Pujols' title-winning home run, and was the Redbirds' second consecutive win courtesy of a David Freese home run. The two teams will square off in Game 2 Wednesday night at AutoZone Park before moving on to Sacramento for the balance of the series.
Seeking their third straight PCL championship, the River Cats sent Chris Gissell to the mound in front of a few hundred of the truest baseball fans in the Mid-South. A former PCL All-Star with the Redbirds, Gissell pitched five shutout innings before giving up a one-out homer to Freese in the bottom of the 6th. Unlike his game-winner against Albuquerque last Friday night, Freese drilled Tuesday's long ball over the leftfield wall and onto the stadium's bluff.
Redbird starter Jaime Garcia pitched six-and-two-third scoreless innings and struck out seven to pick up his second victory of the playoffs. Garcia and four relievers managed the shutout despite several threats from the River Cats, who left men on base in every inning except the first. The most dangerous moment came with two outs in the top of the eighth, when Sacramento pinch-hitter Travis Buck drove a ball to the 400-foot mark in centerfield with two men on base, only to see the ball disappear into the glove of Memphis centerfielder Shane Robinson.
Adam Ottavino (7-12, 4.75) is scheduled to start Game 2 for Memphis, while Chad Reineke (9-4, 4.75) will take the hill for Sacramento.