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Hernandez Hurls Gem, Ports Allow 1 Hit In 2-0 Win Over 66ers05/12/2009 10:00 PM ET
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Stockton Ports starter Carlos Hernandez (2-4), on the heels of two straight losses, was in dire need of a good outing when he took the hill on Wednesday in San Bernardino. Hernandez didn't just have a good outing, he was brilliant. Hernandez did not allow a hit in his six innings of work, striking out eight and helping the Ports to a 2-0 win over the Inland Empire 66ers at Arrowhead Credit Union Park.
Prior to the game, much of the attention was given to Jason Schmidt (0-1), who was making the start for Inland Empire on a major league rehab assignment from the Dodgers. Schmidt in fact pitched well, but would be ultimately overshadowed by the Stockton southpaw.
In the top of the first, the Ports took advantage of two 66ers errors which happened on the same play. Jermaine Mitchell worked a one-out walk off Schmidt. While Todd Johnson was batting, Mitchell stole second. The throw from 66ers catcher Kenley Jenson went into center field, allowing Mitchell to break for third. Center fielder Trayvon Robinson's throw to third bounced over the shoulder of Pedro Baez and away from Schmidt who was backing up the play. Mitchell came across to score on a stolen base and two consecutive throwing errors, giving the Ports a 1-0 lead.
Schmidt would take control after that. He went on to strike out the side in the first and retire the next seven batters in a row after walking Mitchell. In the fourth, the Ports got a one-out hit from Matt Smith. Raul Padron followed with a line drive into right just over the glove of second baseman Garrett Green. Smith had to hold at first to see of the ball would be caught, and as a result he was thrown out by at second on a force play by right-fielder Scott Van Slyke.
In the sixth, Schmidt walked Mitchell to start the inning, gave up a single to Johnson, then walked Smith to load the bases with nobody out. Schmidt was then replaced with Greg Miller out of the bullpen. Miller got Padron to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, scoring Mitchell and putting Stockton up 2-0. Miller would get Alex Valdez to strike out to end the frame and the remaining threat.
Schmidt pitched well in his rehab stint but would end up with the loss, going five-plus innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits while walking four and striking out six.
Meanwhile, Hernandez was pitching masterfully. He walked two and hit a batter over six innings, but did not allow a hit in that span while racking up eight strikeouts. He would receive the much deserved win, going six hitless innings, striking out eight, walking two and hitting a batter.
Because of pitch count restrictions, Justin Friend was brought on in the seventh in relief of Hernandez. Friend would walk Van Slyke with one out in the seventh, but get the inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to take the no-hitter into the eighth.
Seven Caseres would lead off the eighth inning for Inland Empire with a solid single up the middle off the pitcher's mound to end the combined no-hit bid. Friend, however, would not lose focus. He bore down and got Green to hit into a 4-6-3 twin-killing, then struck out Kenley Jensen to end the inning.
Jon Hunton (SV, 5) came on to pitch the ninth and tossed a perfect frame while recording a strikeout. Hunton is now a perfect five-for-five in save chances on the season.
The Ports and 66ers will play the second game of their three-game set on Wednesday at Arrowhead Credit Union Park. Craig Italiano (3-2, 4.40 ERA) will look for his fourth straight win when he takes the hill. He'll be opposed by Inland Empire right-hander Josh Wall (0-1, 63.00 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.