MODESTO - Devin Harris hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the 12th inning to propel the San Jose Giants to a wild 6-4 victory over the Modesto Nuts on Friday evening at John Thurman Field. Harris' second homer of the night broke a 4-4 tie as the Giants took the opener of the three-game series.
With the game tied, Modesto put the potential winning run at third base with none out in both the 10th and 11th innings, but failed to score in each frame. The contest saw three San Jose Giants ejected in the extra-innings and the benches clear in the bottom of the 10th.
Harris (3-for-6, 2 HR, 4 RBI), who also connected for a solo home run earlier in the game, led a 14-hit Giants offensive attack. Chris Lofton (2-for-5, RBI), Jeff Arnold (2-for-5, SB), Ryan Cavan (2-for-5) and Shawn Payne (2-for-6) also finished with two hits apiece. Angel Villalona (1-for-5, HR, RBI) added his fifth home run of the season.
Harris' first home run of the evening came in the top of the seventh inning and gave San Jose a 3-2 lead. Villalona then pushed the advantage to 4-2 with a solo homer in the eighth.
Modesto though tied the game in the bottom of the eighth against Giants reliever Jeff Soptic as Jordan Ribera stepped to the plate with runners at second and third and two outs and blooped a two-RBI single into shallow left.
San Jose went down quietly in the ninth and tenth innings before the Nuts appeared poised to win the game in the bottom of the 10th. Facing Drew Bowlin, the inning began with a double off the bat of Brian Humphries. Tyler Massey then drew a walk before Taylor Featherston reached on a controversial bunt single that resulted in the ejection of Giants manager Andy Skeels. However with the bases loaded and none out, Bowlin struck out Sam Mende on a 3-2 pitch before Jordan Ribera flied out to shallow left. David Kandilas was up next and he struck out on three pitches to end the inning. At the conclusion of the inning, an animated Bowlin was ejected by home plate umpire Ben Guttenberger as the benches cleared before order was quickly restored.
Modesto had another opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the 11th as pinch-hitter Trevor Story led off with a triple to deep left center off of Luis Rojas. Rojas though pitched out of trouble as Juan Crousset flied out to shallow center for the first out. After Will Swanner was intentionally walked, Humphries hit a grounder back to the mound that was fielded by Rojas. The San Jose pitcher threw to second on the play, but when Story took off for the plate, shortstop Kelby Tomlinson quickly fired the ball home to nail the runner for the second out. A wild pitch and another intentional walk followed to load the bases, but Rojas then induced Taylor Featherston to fly out to right ending the inning.
In the top of the 12th, Cavan drew a leadoff walk before Harris crushed a two-run homer down the left field line for a 6-4 Giants advantage.
Josh Osich entered the game for San Jose in the bottom of the 12th and promptly allowed a leadoff double to Mende as Modesto brought the potential tying run to the plate. However, the next three batters were retired as Ribera grounded out, Kandilas flied out to the warning track in left center and Story struck out to end the game.
Rojas (2-1) was credited with the win after his scoreless bottom of the 11th while Osich earned his third save of the year.
Scott Oberg (1-2) suffered the loss for the Nuts. Oberg, who entered the game with a perfect 0.00 ERA in eight appearances this season, allowed Harris' 12th-inning home run.
The Giants initially took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when singles from Payne, Tomlinson and Harris produced a run. Modesto immediately tied the score in the bottom of the first on Ribera's one-out RBI single.
San Jose reclaimed the lead in the fourth as Arnold singled with one out, stole second and scored on Lofton's two-out single. The Nuts though once again came back as an error allowed the tying run to come home in the bottom of the sixth.
Chris Marlowe started on the mound for the Giants and worked six innings with two runs (one earned) and six hits allowed. He walked two and struck out five. Marlowe was the third San Jose Giant ejected when he was tossed from the dugout by the home plate umpire in the bottom of the 11th.
Notes: The Giants are 1-2 in extra-inning games this season … San Jose out-hit Modesto by a 14-13 margin … Harris leads the Giants with six home runs this season … Over his last three games, Harris is 6-for-13 with four home runs and nine RBI's … Cavan (seven games), Arnold (six games), Harris (six games) and Villalona (six games) all extended hitting streaks … San Jose improved their record to 16-6.
On Deck: The Giants and Nuts continue their three-game series on Saturday evening with first pitch at John Thurman Field scheduled for 7:05 PM. Adalberto Mejia (1-0, 6.08 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Modesto is expected to counter with Ben Alsup (1-1, 1.35 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM.