Giants Rally for Game 1 Victory over Blaze
SAN JOSE, CA - The San Jose Giants rallied from an early three-run deficit to post a 5-3 Game 1 victory over the Bakersfield Blaze on Wednesday evening at Municipal Stadium. Miguel Gomez's two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the sixth put San Jose in front before the Giants held off the Blaze late to secure the win. San Jose leads the best-of-three North Mini Series 1-0 with Game 2 scheduled for Thursday night in Bakersfield.
T.J. Bennett (1-for-3, HR, RBI) and Dylan Davis (1-for-1, HR, RBI) added solo home runs for the Giants as San Jose won despite getting out-hit by a 12-5 margin.
Five Giants relievers - Dusten Knight, Caleb Baragar, Ryan Halstead, Tyler Cyr and Reyes Moronta - combined on four scoreless innings to finish the game. Baragar, who retired all three batters he faced during his stint on the mound, was credited with the win. Moronta escaped a jam in the top of the ninth to record the save.
The Blaze jumped out early in the contest scoring once in the top of the first before a two-run third inning to take a 3-0 lead. The first-inning rally began with a one-out single from Drew Jackson off of San Jose starter Jordan Johnson. Chantz Mack then ripped a double off the fence in deep left advancing Jackson to third before Jay Baum delivered an RBI groundout for a 1-0 Bakersfield advantage.
In the third, four singles for the Blaze against Johnson produced two runs. Jackson led off with a single before a one-out single from Baum put runners on first and second. Kyle Petty then laced a single into center plating Jackson with the first run of the frame. Two batters later, Austin Wilson grounded a two-out single through the hole on the left side to bring home Baum for a 3-0 lead. Bakersfield knocked out seven hits over the first three innings, but then would not score for the remainder of the game.
The Giants used a pair of solo home runs to cut into the Blaze lead. Bennett's line drive homer to right in the bottom of the third was San Jose's first hit of the night. Then in the fourth, Davis belted a towering home run to deep center bringing the Giants to within 3-2.
Meanwhile, Johnson settled down and finished his start with back-to-back scoreless innings over the fourth and fifth. The right-hander retired seven out of the last eight batters he faced. Johnson was charged with three runs (all earned) on eight hits over five innings. He struck out five and did not issue a walk during his 93-pitch outing.
With the score still 3-2 Bakersfield, Knight (1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) entered from the bullpen to begin the top of the sixth. Knight struck out Wilson to start the frame, but then yielded consecutive singles to Braden Bishop and Daniel Torres. Baragar was then summoned into pitch and he promptly got out of the inning inducing Jordan Cowan to groundout before Jackson struck out.
San Jose then used a three-run bottom of the sixth to take their first lead of the game. A leadoff walk to Rando Moreno and a two-out single from Bryan Reynolds put runners on the corners for the Giants. Davis then drew a four-pitch walk from Blaze starter Osmer Morales to load the bases. Gomez was up next and on a 3-2 pitch, lined a sharp single into shallow center for a single. The hit easily scored both Moreno and Reynolds for a 4-3 San Jose lead. Aramis Garcia then reached on an infield single past third base facing new pitcher Kody Kerski to plate Davis for a 5-3 cushion.
The Giants would hold off the Blaze over the final three innings to notch the victory. In the top of the seventh, Baragar (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO) fanned Mack for the first out. Halstead (2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) then entered from the bullpen, but ran into trouble when Baum's shallow fly ball into left was dropped by Robbie Garvey for an error. Halstead though pitched around the miscue as he struck out Petty and then with Joe DeCarlo at the plate, Baum was thrown out at third attempting to steal to end the inning.
In the top of the eighth, Cyr (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO) walked DeCarlo to leadoff, but induced the next hitter, Wilson, to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Bishop followed with a single to again bring the tying run to the plate, however Cyr got Torres to fly out to center retiring the side.
Moronta (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO) was then brought into pitch to start top of the ninth with San Jose still ahead of two runs. The inning began with a four-pitch walk to Cowan before Moronta came back to strikeout Jackson on three pitches. Mack followed with a line drive single into center putting runners on the corners. However with the go-ahead run at the plate, Moronta set down Baum on a shallow fly out to right and struck out Petty swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
Giants pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts in the victory.
Morales (0-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing five runs (all earned) on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out a season-high 11. Gomez's go-ahead hit came on Morales' 109th and final pitch of the game.
Notes - * The Giants went just 3-10 against Bakersfield at Municipal Stadium during the regular season. * The Blaze were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left 11 on base. * San Jose's first at-bat with a runner in scoring position was Gomez's two-run single in the bottom of the sixth. * Davis hit seven out of his 18 home runs during the regular season against Bakersfield. Five of Bennett's nine homers this year also came versus the Blaze. * The Giants won despite striking out 16 times. * Halstead and Reynolds (1-for-3) were both making their California League debuts after joining San Jose on Wednesday from Augusta (A). * Center fielder Ronnie Jebavy (shoulder dislocation) left the game in the top of the first after colliding with the second baseman Bennett while attempting to make a diving catch.
On Deck: The Giants and Blaze play Game 2 of the best-of-three North Mini Series on Thursday evening in Bakersfield. First pitch at Sam Lynn Ballpark is scheduled for 7:15 PM. Cory Taylor (1-1, 6.75 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while the Blaze are expected to counter with Zack Littell (8-1, 2.51 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 6:45 PM.
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