SAN JOSE - Ty Blach allowed just one run over 6 1/3 innings and the San Jose Giants scored five times over the last three frames en route to a 6-2 victory over the Modesto Nuts on Thursday evening at Municipal Stadium. Devin Harris hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the bottom of the sixth as San Jose earned their sixth straight series win to begin the year and improved their record to a league-best 15-6.
Blach (3-1) became the Giants' first three-game winner this year after achieving a season-high in innings pitched. The left-hander allowed six hits with one walk during his 81-pitch performance.
Jeff Arnold (3-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI, SB) and Kelby Tomlinson (3-for-4, 2B, RBI, SB) had three hits apiece to lead San Jose offensively while Harris (1-for-3, HR, RBI) homered for the second straight game.
The Giants trailed early by a 1-0 score until tying the game with a single run in the bottom of the third. Arnold led off the frame with a triple off the wall in center and immediately scored when the next batter, Tomlinson, reached on an infield single.
San Jose stranded the potential go-ahead run at third base in the third, fourth and fifth innings before Harris stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the sixth and crushed a solo home run to deep left center. The home run was Harris' fourth of the year as it put the Giants in front by a 2-1 margin.
Meanwhile, Blach surrendered a single run in the top of the first inning before an out was recorded in the contest. Brian Humphries started the game with a double before Taylor Featherston reached on an error to put runners on the corners. David Kandilas then delivered an RBI single to give the Nuts a 1-0 lead, but Blach limited the damage in the inning by inducing Jordan Ribera to ground into a double play before Harold Riggins struck out.
Blach set down Modesto 1-2-3 in the second, fourth and sixth innings. He pitched around a pair of hits in the fifth and exited the game in the top of the seventh after issuing a one-out walk to Trevor Story before Juan Crousset singled to put runners on the corners. With the Giants leading by a 2-1 score, Bryce Bandilla (1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO) was summoned from the bullpen and he promptly registered consecutive swinging strikeouts of Will Swanner and Tim Smalling to end the inning and keep San Jose in front.
The Giants then extended their lead to 4-1 with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Back-to-back singles from Arnold and Tomlinson started the inning before Shawn Payne dropped down a sacrifice bunt. Then with Elliott Blair at the plate, a wild pitch allowed Arnold to score the third San Jose run of the night. A pitch later, Blair laced a double down the right field line plating Tomlinson for a 4-1 advantage.
The Nuts trimmed the lead to 4-2 in the top of the eighth on a one-out solo homer from Featherston off Bandilla, but the Giants responded with two more runs in the bottom of the inning. Harris and Angel Villalona were both hit by a pitch with one out before Myles Schroder walked to load the bases. Arnold then pushed the lead to 6-2 with a line drive two-RBI single into center.
Hunter Strickland (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO) struck out two in a perfect top of the ninth for San Jose to seal the victory.
Nuts reliever Nick Schnaitmann (2-2) suffered the loss after yielding three runs (all earned) on four hits over 1 1/3 innings. Starting pitcher Tyler Anderson, a former first round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies, worked the first five innings and allowed one run on seven hits. He struck out six and walked none.
Notes: San Jose won two out of three games in the series … The Giants out-hit Modesto by a 12-7 margin … Arnold and Tomlinson from the #8 and #9 positions in the lineup were a combined 6-for-8 with three runs and three RBI's … Harris is tied with Villalona for the team-lead in home runs … Blach lowered his ERA to 1.54 - fourth in the California League … His 6 1/3 innings pitched was the longest outing from a San Jose starter this season.
On Deck: The Giants now travel to Modesto for a three-game series beginning on Friday evening. First pitch at John Thurman Field is scheduled for 7:05 PM. Chris Marlowe (1-0, 1.80 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while the Nuts are expected to counter with Chris Jensen (0-3, 4.76 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM.