Big Inning Costs Pucetas His First Loss
The Visalia Oaks scored five runs against Giants pitcher Kevin Pucetas in the bottom of the third inning handing the San Jose starter his first defeat of the season in a 5-3 victory on Sunday night at Recreation Park. Pucetas failed to become the first Giants pitcher to win 11 straight decisions as San Jose dropped the opener of a three-game series. With the loss, the Giants' second half record fell to 33-23 - 3 1/2 games ahead of Modesto (29-26) for the top spot in the North Division.
Pucetas (10-1) worked six innings on the mound yielding five runs on seven hits. The right-hander, who tied the San Jose record for consecutive wins in his last start, walked one and struck out five. Outside of the third inning, Pucetas surrendered only one hit.
Mike McBryde was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate to lead an eight-hit Giants offensive attack. Brett Pill (1-for-3) added a pair of RBI's.
With San Jose ahead by a 3-0 margin, Greg Thomson began the decisive third inning rally with a one-out triple off the fence in deep right center field. Then when the ball was misplayed by center fielder Darren Ford for an error, Thomson raced home with Visalia's first run of the contest.
Konrad Schmidt followed with a double to the wall in right center before advancing to third on a passed and then scoring when Evan Frey flied out to center.
Mark Hallberg restarted the rally with a single before Pedro Ciriaco singled to put runners on first and second. Pete Clifford then stepped to the plate and belted a 1-2 pitch off the wall down the right field line for a double scoring both runners to give the Oaks the lead. Ed Easley followed with an RBI single to make the score 5-3. Visalia sent all nine hitters to the plate in the bottom of the third inning, scoring five runs on six hits.
Pucetas began his start by facing the minimum six batters over the first two frames. The All-Star then retired 11 of the last 12 hitters he faced before leaving the game to begin the bottom of the seventh.
The Giants quickly jumped in front with a pair of runs against Oaks starter Eddie Romero in the top of the first. Brock Bond began the game by drawing a walk before McBryde singled. After a sacrifice bunt from Matt Downs, Pill drove a fly ball to right field plating Bond for a 1-0 lead. Andy D'Alessio was up next and he delivered an infield single up the middle to score another run.
In the top of the third, three straight two-out singles from McBryde, Downs and Pill produced San Jose's third run.
Romero (6-12) tossed five innings to earn the victory for Visalia. The left-hander surrendered three runs (all earned) on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Kyler Newby, who worked a perfect top of the ninth inning, was credited with his 15th save of the year. Three Oaks relievers combined to retire seven straight Giants hitters to end the game.
Notes: Neither team scored after the third inning ... Pucetas remained tied with Dan Rambo (1990) and Jeff Urban (1998-99) for most consecutive wins in San Jose Giants history ... His ERA climbed to 2.73 - still lowest in the California League ... The Oaks out-hit the Giants by a 9-8 margin ... Romero won his first game at home this season in 10 starts (1-7) ... Hallberg led the Visalia offense with a perfect 3-for-3 effort at the plate ... Steve Edlefsen (2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO) was the only San Jose reliever to appear in the game ... The Giants' overall record dropped to 76-50.
On Deck: The Giants and Oaks continue this three-game series on Monday evening with first pitch at Recreation Park scheduled for 7:05 P.M. Waldis Joaquin (0-0, 2.45 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Visalia is expected to counter with Chad Beck (5-4, 4.02 ERA). The game can be heard live on www.sjgiants.com.
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California League Stories from August 18, 2008
- JetHawks Come From Behind to Beat Mavericks 4-2 - Lancaster JetHawks
- Visalia Oaks Game Notes - Visalia Rawhide
- Big Inning Costs Pucetas His First Loss - San Jose Giants
- Brown Blasts Ports To 6-3 Win Over Blaze - Stockton Ports
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