SAN JOSE - The San Jose Giants scored all 10 of their runs on two-out hits in a 10-5 victory over the Modesto Nuts on Wednesday evening at Municipal Stadium. Angel Villalona and Devin Harris each connected for three-run homers to lead the offensive attack as San Jose evened the series at a game apiece and improved their record to 14-6.
Harris (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI) drove home four runs while Elliott Blair (2-for-5, 2B, RBI), Shawn Payne (2-for-5, RBI, SB) and Ryan Cavan (2-for-3) also finished with two hits apiece for the Giants offensively. Villalona's (1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) home run was his team-leading fourth of the season.
Four San Jose pitchers combined to strikeout 19 Modesto hitters in the win, including nine from starter Edwin Escobar over just 4 1/3 innings of work. Escobar, who received a no-decision, allowed one run on four hits with three walks during his stint on the mound. Luis Rojas (1-1) was credited with the win after holding the Nuts off the scoreboard in the seventh and eighth innings. Rojas struck out three.
The Giants jumped out to an early 4-0 lead with four runs in the bottom of the first. Blair's one-out double started the rally before Cavan walked with two outs. Harris then ripped a double down the left field line to plate Blair with the first run of the contest. Villalona was up next and he crushed a 1-1 pitch over the fence in deep left center for a three-run homer.
Escobar began his outing with four scoreless innings of work. The left-hander struck out two batters in the first, third and fourth frames while he struck out the side in the top of the second. In the fifth, Taylor Featherston walked with one out before a double from Tyler Massey put runners on second and third and prompted a pitching change. Carlos Teller (1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO) was summoned from the bullpen and he uncorked a wild pitch to score Featherston with Modesto's first run. A walk then brought the potential tying run to the plate, but Teller recovered with consecutive strikeouts of Harold Riggins and Ryan Casteel to end the inning.
San Jose then struck for another four-run inning in the bottom of the fifth to increase their lead to 8-1. With one out, Payne singled and stole second. Payne then scored when Mac Williamson delivered a two-out single to right. Cavan followed with a single of his own before Harris launched a three-run home run to left center for an 8-1 advantage. The home run was Harris' third of the year.
After the Nuts plated a single run against Teller in the top of the sixth, the Giants responded with two more runs in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back two-out RBI singles from Payne and Blair.
The game remained 10-2 until the top of the ninth when Modesto scored three times against San Jose reliever Drew Bowlin (1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO). A single and two walks loaded the bases with two outs before Juan Crousset delivered an RBI infield single to shortstop. Crousset's single marked the Nuts' first hit with a runner in scoring position in 11 at-bats. Tim Smalling followed with a two-run single into right center to trim the Giants lead to 10-5, but Bowlin then settled down to strikeout the next batter, Featherston, to end the game.
Modesto starting pitcher Tyler Gagnon (1-1) suffered the loss after yielding eight runs (all earned) on eight hits over five innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Notes: The Giants were 7-for-11 (.636) with runners in scoring position … Modesto left 14 runners on base … San Jose out-hit the Nuts by a 12-10 margin … Escobar has 18 strikeouts over his last two starts (nine innings) … Featherston (0-for-5) and Riggins (0-for-5) both struck out five times for the Nuts … Eight of the nine Giants starters finished with at least one hit.
On Deck: The Giants and Nuts will play the rubber game of their three-game series on Thursday evening with first pitch at Municipal Stadium scheduled for 7:00 PM. Ty Blach (2-1, 1.59 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Modesto is expected to counter with Tyler Anderson (0-1, 3.18 ERA). Tickets are available and can be purchased by calling (408) 297-1435 or by visiting sjgiants.com.