Diaz strokes home run for Baby Cakes to sinks River Cats

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METAIRIE- Isan Diaz broke a seventh-inning tie with a two-run homer to lift the New Orleans Baby Cakes to a 4-3 win over the Sacramento River Cats on Saturday night.

After Francisco Pena led off the top of the seventh with a home run to draw the River Cats even, Magneuris Sierra laid down his second successful drag bunt of the game with one out in the bottom of the inning ahead of Diaz’s drive deep over the right field fence to put the Baby Cakes back in front.

Diaz has 13 home runs and 37 RBI on the year, both New Orleans team highs, and has hit nine homers over his last 24 games. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the third Baby Cake with a double-digit streak this season, joining Austin Dean and Matt Snyder.

The ‘Cakes added an insurance run in the seventh when Yadiel Rivera walked, went to third on Lewis Brinson’s double, and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Gabriel Guerrero.

New Orleans used Sierra’s leadoff bunt and singles by Diaz and Brinson to plate a first-inning run off River Cats starter Ty Blach, who settled in to keep the ‘Cakes off the board over the next five innings.

Josh Roeder made his second Triple-A start and weaved around trouble to pitch 4 2/3 scoreless innings. He loaded the bases in the fifth and was removed one out shy of qualifying for the victory, but Kyle Keller needed only three pitches to strike out Mike Gerber and protect the lead.

Keller (2-1) fanned five in 2 1/3 innings of relief as Pena’s homer was the only baserunner to reach against him. R.J. Alvarez gave up a pair of runs in the eighth to bring Sacramento back within a run, but avoided further damage when the River Cats ran into an out on the basepaths.

Parker Bugg issued a one-out walk in the ninth and two wild pitches advanced the tying run to third base, but the former LSU standout fanned Gerber to end the game, striking out the side to nail down his first Triple-A save.

Blach (2-3) was dealt the loss after scattering three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. The left-hander struck out seven without a walk.

New Orleans evened the series and moved back to seven games above .500 to match its season high. The teams continue the four-game set on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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