STOCKTON, Calif. - Max Muncy is becoming well acquainted with the California League and with Banner Island Ballpark. Muncy hit his third home run in the last two games on Saturday night and his league-leading eighth on the season as he helped the Stockton Ports to a 5-2 victory over the Modesto Nuts before a crowd of 5,274.
Modesto jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third when, with one on and one out, Tyler Massey hit a two-run homer to right. The blast was Massey's first of the year and those would be the only runs allowed by Ports pitching on the night.
Ports starter Blake Hassebrock (1-1) escaped a jam in the fourth as the Nuts had runners at second and third with nobody out. Hassebrock got Brian Humphries to pop to short and Taylor Featherston to strike out. With two down, Massey came up and took ball four in the dirt and the ball got by catcher Ryan Delgado and to the backstop. The ball, however, ricocheted hard off the backstop and back to Delgado, who flipped to Hassebrock for the tag at home plate on Harold Riggins, who tried to score from third on the play.
Hassebrock picked up his first win of the season, going 5.1 innings and allowing two runs on four hits while striking out six.
Stockton got on the board in the fourth when Muncy led off with a home run to right off Nuts starter Chris Jensen (0-3). Dusty Robinson followed and drew a walk. Three batters later, with one on and two out, Tony Thompson extended the inning with an infield single and B.A. Vollmuth followed with a game-tying RBI double to left.
The Ports took their first lead in the fifth without the benefit of a hit. Addison Russell walked to open the frame and then stole second. Russell went to third on a ground out to second by Antonio Lamas and scored on an ensuing sac-fly to left from Muncy to make it a 3-2 ballgame.
Jensen went 5.2 innings for Modesto an suffered his third straight loss, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out six.
Geoff Parker took over for Jensen with two outs in the sixth and finished off the inning. Parker pitched a scoreless seventh and looked as if he would have an easy time in the eighth. Parker retired the first two batters, but the inning was extended as Delgado singled to left and Whitaker drew a walk. With two on and two out, Thompson came up and drove in two valuable insurance runs with a two-run double down the left field line, giving the Ports a 5-2 cushion.
Seth Frankoff and Jose Macias (SV, 2) combined for 3.2 scoreless innings of relief down the stretch for Stockton. Macias, who pitched the final two innings, picked up his second save of the season for the Ports.
Stockton and Modesto play the finale of their four-game series on Sunday afternoon at Banner Island Ballpark. Right-hander Deyvi Jimenez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his 2013 debut for the Ports, opposed by Nuts right-hander Ben Alsup (1-1, 1.13 ERA). First pitch is set for 2:09 p.m. PDT.