Giants Bullpen Shines in 6Ã¢ÂÂ5 Victory over Grizzlies
The Giants bullpen duo of Randy Rodriguez and Cole Waites combined to retire the final 13 Fresno hitters while preserving a one-run lead on Friday night in a 6-5 win over the Grizzlies at Chukchansi Park. With the victory, San Jose (75-43) has now claimed three of the first four games in the series and won eight out of their last nine overall. The Giants also moved back to within a half-game of Fresno (73-40) for the North Division lead with two games remaining in the regular season.
San Jose never trailed in Friday's contest jumping out to leads of 3-0 and 6-2 before ultimately holding off the Grizzlies. In the top of the second, Luis Matos hit a one-out bloop double down the right field line before Harrison Freed singled to put runners on the corners. Rodolfo Bone then hit a sacrifice fly to bring home the first run of the night. An inning later, Abdiel Layer drew a leadoff walk and immediately scored when the next batter, Grant McCray, hammered a triple to deep right center. Luis Toribio followed with a sacrifice fly to plate McCray for a 3-0 advantage.
Nick Swiney started on the mound for the Giants and struck out the side in a perfect bottom of the first before fanning two more in a scoreless second inning. Fresno though would scratch across single runs in the third and fourth innings to pull within 3-2. In the bottom of the third, Eddy Diaz walked with one out, stole second and scored on Drew Romo's single to center. Robby Martin followed with another single, but Swiney escaped without further damage as Warming Bernabel bounced into a force play and Joe Aeilts struck out swinging.
In the bottom of the fourth, Cristopher Navarro worked a one-out walk, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Bladimir Restituyo's two-out single to trim the San Jose lead to 3-2. Diaz then singled advancing Restituyo to third before Swiney struck out Romo - his ninth punchout of the game - to end the inning.
The Giants then rallied with two outs in the top of the fifth scoring three times to stretch their lead to 6-2. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, Jimmy Glowenke singled and Patrick Bailey reached on an error. Matos was up next and he blasted a fly ball off the fence in deep left center. The hit went for a double as both Glowenke and Bailey scored to make it 5-2. Matos took third on the throw home and later scored himself on a passed ball for a 6-2 advantage.
Fresno though came right back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth. Juan Sanchez was summoned from the bullpen to start the inning and he promptly allowed a leadoff double to Martin. After Bernabel struck out, Aeilts singled to put runners on the corners. Mateo Gil then hit a sharp grounder to third that was gloved nicely by Edison Mora, but the throw to first skipped past Toribio and rolled into foul territory. Martin scored on the play while Aeilts advanced to third and Gil was safe at second. Navarro followed with an RBI groundout to bring home Aeilts before Gil scored on a wild pitch to cut the San Jose lead to 6-5. After Sanchez walked Trevor Boone, Rodriguez was brought into pitch. Restituyo was up next and he lined a single into left before Rodriguez plunked Diaz to load the bases. However with the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, Rodriguez settled down and struck out Romo swinging to retire the side and keep the lead intact.
The Grizzlies would then not manage another baserunner for the remainder of the night.
With the Giants still ahead by a run, Rodriguez returned to the mound in the bottom of the sixth and needed only seven pitches to set down the side in order. Rodriguez then registered three straight swinging strikeouts in a dominant 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh. With the lead still at 6-5, Rodriguez came back out for the bottom of the eighth and notched another perfect inning. Restituyo struck out to start the frame before Diaz and Romo were retired on consecutive fly outs.
Waites then breezed through the bottom of the ninth to seal the San Jose victory. The Giants closer struck out Martin to begin the inning before Bernabel bounced out to third for the second out. Aeilts was up next and he struck out swinging - San Jose's 18th strikeout of the contest - to finish the game.
Friday's match-up was the second straight one-run game in the series after Fresno prevailed by a 7-6 score in 10 innings on Thursday. Wednesday's contest was also tied entering the top of the ninth before Harrison Freed hit a go-ahead grand slam. 19 of the 28 games between the Giants and Grizzlies this season have been decided by one or two runs (Fresno leads season series 15-13). The two teams will meet in the best-of-five Low-A West Championship Series beginning on Tuesday next week.
Rodriguez Continues Streak
Randy Rodriguez struck out six and allowed only one hit over his 3 1/3 scoreless innings on Friday to pick-up the win. The San Jose Relief Pitcher of the Year lowered his season ERA to 1.74. Rodriguez has also now thrown 28 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings spanning his last 12 appearances.
Waites Collects Save
Cole Waites (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 SO) earned his second save with San Jose. In 10 relief appearances for the Giants this season, Waites has thrown 10 1/3 innings with one hit and one run allowed. He's struck out 24 batters.
Luis Matos (2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI) hit his league-leading 34th and 35th doubles of the season in the victory. In addition, he collected his 85th and 86th RBI's of the year - also tops in Low-A West. Jimmy Glowenke (2-for-5) added a pair of hits while Grant McCray (1-for-5, 3B, RBI) extended his hitting streak to 12 games with his run-scoring triple. Fresno out-hit San Jose 8-7.
Nick Swiney struck out nine over four innings in his start on Friday. The left-hander surrendered his first earned run with the Giants this season. Overall, he was charged with two runs (both earned) on five hits during his outing. Swiney finishes the regular season with a sparkling 0.74 ERA in 24 1/3 innings pitched for San Jose (42 strikeouts).
The Giants have scored at least six runs in each of their last nine games (8-1 record). San Jose is 20-8 over their last 28 games.
The Giants and Grizzlies continue their series on Saturday evening with first pitch at Chukchansi Park set for 6:50 PM. Will Bednar is San Jose's scheduled starting pitcher.
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Low-A West League Stories from September 18, 2021
- Nuts No-Hit Ports, Win 7-0 - Modesto Nuts
- Giants Bullpen Shines in 6Ã¢ÂÂ5 Victory over Grizzlies - San Jose Giants
- Ports' Bats Quiet in No-Hit Loss to Nuts - Stockton Ports
- San Jose Sneaks by Fresno 6-5 After an 18-Strikeout Performance - Fresno Grizzlies
- Quakes Fall to Rawhide on Friday - Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
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