Giants Sweep Fresno to Win Low-A West Championship
The Giants swept the Fresno Grizzlies in the best-of-five Championship Series with a 7-2 Game Three win on Friday night at Excite Ballpark. San Jose overcame an early 2-0 deficit in the contest scoring seven unanswered runs to cruise to the clinching victory. The Giants earned their first league title in 11 years and won the franchise's 12th championship overall.
San Jose pitching excelled throughout the Championship Series and it continued with the Game Three win. Nick Swiney started on the mound on Friday and tossed four innings with two runs (both earned) allowed and six strikeouts. The bullpen trio of Tristan Beck (2 1/3 IP, 2 SO), Brooks Crawford (1 2/3 IP, 2 SO) and Cole Waites (1 IP, 2 SO) then combined to throw five scoreless innings for the Giants. Beck earned the win with his long relief effort while Crawford collected key outs in the seventh and eighth innings to keep the Grizzlies off the scoreboard. Waites then closed it out with a perfect top of the ninth registering a strikeout of Fresno's Cristopher Navarro to seal the victory and spark a wild championship celebration.
Game Three began with Fresno scoring twice in the top of the first inning against Swiney to take an early 2-0 lead. After Swiney struck out the first two batters of the game, Drew Romo and Warming Bernabel worked back-to-back walks. A wild pitch then advanced the runners to second and third before Robby Martin laced a two-RBI single into right. The Grizzlies though would not score again for the remainder of the night and the Giants would immediately answer in the bottom of the inning.
Grant McCray began the home-half of the first inning with a ringing double into the left center field corner. After Luis Toribio struck out, Jimmy Glowenke hit a grounder to first that Navarro fielded, but threw late to third base in an attempt to cut down the lead runner. With McCray safe at third and Glowenke aboard at first, Patrick Bailey was up next and he ripped an RBI single into right to cut the Fresno lead in half. Luis Matos then drew a walk and when the ball four pitch from Grizzlies starter Noah Gotsis sailed to the backstop, Glowenke raced home from third with the tying run. Ghordy Santos then stepped to the plate and delivered an RBI single into center as Bailey scored to give San Jose a 3-2 lead.
Swiney settled in after the two-run first and fired three straight scoreless innings to complete his outing. Swiney pitched around leadoff singles in both the second and third before working through a one-out single in the top of the fourth to keep the Giants ahead by a run. Beck then entered from the bullpen in the top of the fifth and put up a scoreless inning with Bailey throwing out an attempted base stealer at second base for the final out.
San Jose then scratched across a single run in the bottom of the fifth without picking-up a hit to extend their lead to 4-2. McCray was hit by a pitch to start the inning before a walk to Toribio. After Glowenke advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt and Bailey was intentionally walked to load the bases, Matos hit a sacrifice fly to center.
Beck needed only nine pitches to work a perfect top of the sixth before Fresno threatened in the seventh in a key moment in the game. Consecutive singles from Mateo Gil and AJ Lewis to begin the inning put the potential tying runs on base. After Navarro dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, Crawford was summoned into pitch and the right-hander notched back-to-back swinging strikeouts of pinch-hitter Colin Simpson and Julio Carreras to end the inning and keep the score at 4-2.
McCray then led off the bottom of the seventh for the Giants with a towering solo home run to right. The blast stretched the lead to 5-2.
The Grizzlies threatened again in the top of the eighth, but Crawford once more was able to escape. A one-out single from Romo followed by Bernabel reaching on an error brought the tying run to the plate for Fresno. Crawford though induced the next hitter, Martin, to ground the first pitch of his at-bat to shortstop and San Jose turned a key inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
The Giants kept the pressure on with two more runs in the bottom of the eighth to extend the lead. Matos led off with a soaring fly ball over the fence in left for a home run. The 407-foot blast made it a 6-2 game.
Later in the inning, Santos drew a walk and scored on Rodriguez's double into the left field corner for a 7-2 cushion.
Waites then entered in the top of the ninth with San Jose on the brink of the title. He retired Gil on a fly out to center to start the inning before Lewis was called out on strikes. Waites then pumped a 97 MPH fastball for strike three to Navarro to end the game and send Excite Ballpark into a frenzied celebration.
Championship Series Sweep
The Giants earned victories of 3-1, 4-2 and 7-2 to sweep the Low-A West Championship Series. San Jose held to Fresno to a total of five runs during three games with the Grizzlies managing only a .182 team batting average. The Giants hit seven home runs during the series (Fresno no homers).
The championship was the 12th in the history of the franchise and the seventh as a Giants affiliate (since 1988). The San Jose Giants have won championships in 1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2021. Lenn Sakata won his fourth title (2001, 2005, 2007, 2021) in eight years as San Jose Giants manager.
Patrick Bailey was San Jose's top offensive performer during the Championship Series as he finished 4-for-10 with two home runs and four RBI's. Other Championship Series standouts included Yorlis Rodriguez (3-for-7, 2B, HR, 2 RBI), Ghordy Santos (4-for-10, RBI), Grant McCray (3-for-9, HR, RBI), Luis Matos (3-for-10, HR, 2 RBI) and Jimmy Glowenke (3-for-11, HR, RBI).
The Giants bullpen fired a total of 10 2/3 scoreless innings during the three-game sweep of Fresno.
Friday's attendance of 3,107 was the largest crowd of the season at Excite Ballpark.
The 2022 season for the San Jose Giants is scheduled to begin on Friday, April 8 at Modesto. Next year's home opener is on Tuesday, April 12 against the Fresno Grizzlies. For more information on season tickets and group packages in 2022, visit sjgiants.com.
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Low-A West League Stories from September 25, 2021
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- Giants Sweep Fresno to Win Low-A West Championship - San Jose Giants
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