STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Ports were in danger of coming away from Sunday afternoon's game without any clutch hits. Ryan Ortiz changed that in the eighth inning at Banner Island Ballpark. With Stockton trailing by a run, Ortiz delivered a two-run homer to left of Nuts reliever Nelson Gonzalez (0-2) that shot the Ports in front and ultimately helped them secure a 4-2 victory.
Stockton struck the first blow in the second inning off Nuts starter Ben Alsup. With two on and two out, Antonio Lamas singled down the left field line to score B.A. Vollmuth. It would be the only run allowed by Alsup, who went four innings and allowed a run on four hits while striking out five and walking a season-high four.
Modesto took advantage of a good break in the third to tie the game. With one out, Ports starter Deyvi Jimenez struck out David Kandilas on a pitch in the dirt that found its way to the backstop, allowing Kandilas to reach on a wild pitch. Two batters later, with Kandalis at first and two out, Jordan Ribera doubled to right to tie the game at 1-1.
The Nuts took the lead by taking advantage of a Ports error in the fourth inning. Harold Riggins led off with a walk and while Juan Crousset was batting, Ortiz attempted a pick-off throw to first that wound up down the right field line. Riggins wound up at third base and scored on a sac-fly from Tim Smalling, giving Modesto a 2-1 lead.
Jimenez received a no-decision, going four innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on four hit while striking out five in his season debut.
Stockton's bullpen, a combination of David Mota, Jake Brown and Jonathan Joseph (2-0) combined to toss five scoreless innings down the stretch. Brown entered the game in the sixth inning with runners at second and third and one out and got Crousset to ground to first and Smalling to ground to short to preserve the one-run deficit. Joseph came on with a runner at first and nobody out in the eighth and struck out three straight batters.
Trailing 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth, Tony Thompson drew a leadoff walk to get the tying run aboard for Stockton. Two batters later, Ortiz stepped up and delivered his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to left that gave the Ports a 3-2 lead and knocked Gonzalez from the contest. Kenneth Roberts came on in relief and gave up a bunt single to Bobby Crocker and a wall-ball single to Lamas two batters later that scored an insurance run and made it a 4-2 advantage.
Gonzalez took the loss for Modesto, allowing two runs on two hits in 2.1 innings of work.
Joseph came back out to pitch the ninth for the Ports and with one on and one out, Tyler Massey hit a line drive toward the gap in left-center. Crocker, the center fielder, made a tremendous diving catch in the gap to save a run and provide the second out of the inning. After hitting Kandilas, Joseph struck out Ryan Casteel to end the ballgame.
Joseph got the win, going two scoreless innings while striking out four for Stockton.
Following an off day on Monday, the Ports travel to Visalia on Tuesday to begin a three-game series with the Rawhide and a six-game road trip. Tanner Peters (2-0, 3.71 ERA) makes the start in the series opener for Stockton, opposed by Visalia right-hander Kyle Winkler (0-2, 10.95 ERA). First pitch is set for 7 p.m. PDT.