MODESTO, Calif. - Tuesday night marks the third time this season that the Stockton Ports have won a game when trailing after the seventh inning. Down 2-1 with two outs and the bases empty in the eighth, the Ports plated a pair of runs to take the lead and an insurance run in the ninth to defeat the Modesto Nuts by a final of 4-2 at John Thurman Field.
The Ports and Nuts played to a draw over the first four innings, with starters Jake Brown and Chris Jensen scattering a combined four hits in that span. The Ports broke the tie in the top of the fifth when Myrio Richard doubled to left with one out and scored two batters later on a sinking liner that fell into right field off the bat of Bobby Crocker. The ball got by right fielder Brian Humphries as he tried to make a diving catch, and Crocker was waived around third to try for the inside-the-park home run, but was thrown out on a relay play to end the inning.
Modesto tied the contest in the bottom of the inning. Tyler Massey led off with a single, at which point Brown was lifted for Seth Frankoff. Frankoff struck out Will Swanner, but on the final pitch of the sequence Massey stole second and went to third as the throw bounced into center field. Humphries came up next and hit an RBI single to right that scored Massey and tied the game at 1-1. After Taylor Featherston singled to put runners at the corners with one out, Frankoff got David Kandilas to foul out to third and Sam Mende to strike out to end the inning.
Brown went four-plus innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out two.
The Nuts grabbed their first lead in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Frankoff walked Harold Riggins and then allowed a single to Trevor Story, at which point he was lifted for Jose Macias (1-1). Macias struck out Massey, but then allowed an RBI single to Swanner that scored Riggins and gave Modesto a 2-1 advantage. The run was charged to Frankoff who went an inning-and-a-third and allowed three hits while striking out two.
Jensen, the Nuts starter, went seven innings and allowed just the one run on three hits while striking out four.
Modesto brought in Geoff Parker (2-2) to pitch the top of the eighth with Modesto leading 2-1. Parker got the first two outs, then gave up a single to Crocker and walked Addison Russell to put two aboard. Leuris Gomez was summoned from the Nuts bullpen to face Antonio Lamas, who lined a 1-2 pitch to the left field wall. Both runners scored and Lamas was thrown out on a relay play at third to end the inning.
Parker took the loss as he was charged with the two runs that scored in his two-thirds of an inning.
Jonathan Joseph (SV, 2) came on to pitch the bottom of the eighth and allowed back-to-back singles to Ryan Casteel and Riggins. Story came up next and laid a bunt down the third base line. Joseph fielded and made a throw that went into foul territory, backed up by Lamas. Lamas threw to second base where Riggins had rounded the bag and was caught in a rundown for the first out. The play was ruled a sacrifice and an error on Joseph. With runners at the corners and one out, Joseph recorded back-to-back strikeouts of Massey and Drew Beurlein to end the inning and the threat.
Dusty Robinson added an insurance run in the ninth as he hit a solo home run to left off Gomez to make it a 4-2 cushion.
Joseph pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his second save of the season. Macias was credited with the win, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings in relief.
The Ports and Nuts play a matinee on Wednesday at John Thurman Field. Deyvi Jimenez (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will head to the mound for Stockton, opposed by Modesto right-hander Ben Alsup (2-2, 4.03 ERA). First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. PDT.