SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - For the third time this season, the Stockton Ports suffered a series sweep. The Inland Empire 66ers, after blowing a 4-2 lead in the seventh, got a three-run homer from Alex Yarbrough in the bottom of the 11th inning as they handed the Ports a 7-4 loss and completed a sweep of the three-game set at San Manuel Stadium.
Ports starter Drew Granier found himself in a bases-loaded, no-out jam after giving up three straight singles to start the second inning. Granier struck out Andy Workman for the first out, but a wild pitch on the third strike swinging went to the backstop and allowed Zach Borenstein to score and make it 1-0. Brennan Gowens came up next and grounded out to second to drive in another run and bring the 66ers lead to 2-0.
Max Muncy led off the fourth inning with his league-leading 16th home run of the season out to right field off 66ers starter Jake Boyd, cutting the Stockton deficit to 2-1.
Inland Empire fired back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Borenstein led off with a double and scored on an RBI double two batters later by Brian Hernandez to make it 3-1. Hernandez scored later in the inning on a fielder's choice force out, putting the 66ers up 4-1.
Granier did not allow a run over his final three innings of work and would receive a no-decision, going seven innings and allowing six hits while walking two and striking out seven.
Trailing 4-2 with one out in the seventh, Phil Pohl pulled Stockton to within a run with a home run to left off Boyd, chasing him from the ballgame. Ty Kelley came in from the bullpen and gave up a double to Wade Kirland. Kelley then uncorked two wild pitches that allowed Kirkland to score and tie the game at 4-4.
Boyd went 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out four. Kelley went 1.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits while striking out two.
Pedro Vidal came on to start the eighth inning for Stockton and pitiched two scoreless frames, retiring six of the seven batters he faced. Michael Morin tossed a scoreless ninth for Inland Empire as the game went into extra innings.
Jake Brown (2-2) started the bottom of the 10th for Stockton and gave up a leadoff single to Yarbrough. Borenstein followed with a single to shallow left and Yarbrough was thrown out by Rashun Dixon as he tried to go from first to third base. Brown would issue and intentional walk to Hernandez with two outs and then walk Andy Workman to load the bases, but got Gowens to ground to shortstop to end the inning.
After Eric Cendejas (4-2) pitched a scoreless 10th and 11th innings, Brown came back out for the bottom of the 11th and issued back-to-back walks with one out. Yarbrough came to bat with two on and hit a three-run homer to left to end the ballgame and secure the series sweep for Inland Empire. Brown suffered the loss while Cendejas picked up the win.
With the loss, the Ports are now mathematically eliminated from contention for a first-half title.
Stockton will look to get back on the winning track as they continue their road trip and start a four-game series with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Thursday night at The Epicenter. James Simmons (3-1, 1.93 ERA) will make the start for the Ports. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.