STOCKTON, Calif. - Friday night's game between the Stockton Ports and the Modesto Nuts marked the long-awaited California League debut of Athletics pitching prospect Michael Ynoa. By night's end, however, Myrio Richard stole the headlines as he hit the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Boys of Banner Island an 8-7 win.
Ynoa's night got off to a strange start in the first inning. With two outs and the bases empty, Ynoa struck out Brian Humphries, but Humphries reached on a wild pitch to extend the inning. After Ryan Casteel walked and Jared Smith was hit by a pitch, Taylor Featherston hit a grand slam to left that gave the Nuts an early 4-0 lead.
Stockton came roaring back in the bottom of the first. Myrio Richard and Addison Russell got the inning started with back-to-back singles off Nuts starter Ben Alsup. With one out, B.A. Vollmuth drew a walk and Josh Whitaker lined a two-run single to left that put the Ports on the board at 4-2. Two batters later, Tony Thompson hit a three-run homer to left that gave Stockton a 5-4 lead.
Modesto tied the score in the third as Ynoa walked Tyler Massey and then gave up an RBI double to Humphries that made it a 5-5 ballgame. Ynoa would retire the next four batters, including three strikeouts in that span.
The Nuts reclaimed the lead in the fourth, taking advantage of the lone Ports error of the game. With one out, Harold Riggins hit a line drive to third that went off the glove of Vollmuth, an error that gave Modesto a window of opportunity. Ynoa walked Jose Rivera and then gave up an RBI single to Tim Smalling that made it 6-5. Massey followed with a sac-fly to center to stretch the Nuts lead to 7-5.
Ynoa received a no-decision in his California League debut, going four innings and allowing seven runs (five earned) on four hits while striking out four and walking three.
Alsup pitched the second through fourth innings without allowing a run. In the fifth, however, Alsup issued a one-out walk to Max Muncy, at which point he was taken out of the game for Nick Schnaitmann. Schnaitmann issued back-to-back walks to Vollmuth and Whitaker and then hit Antonio Lamas to bring in a run and make it 7-6. Thompson came up next and hit a deep line drive to center that Massey tracked down near the warning track. Vollmuth, the runner at third, came about three-quarters of the way down the line and had to return to the base, tag up, and come back down the line to score. Vollmuth would be thrown out on a relay play at the plate to end the inning.
Will Rankin started the sixth inning in relief for Modesto and gave up a one-out homer to Dusty Robinson that tied the score at 7-7. It was Robinson's second home run in as many nights.
Stockton's bullpen would toss seven scoreless innings in relief of Ynoa, beginning with a scoreless frame from T.J. Walz in the fifth. Seth Frankoff pitched two scoreless innings beginning in the sixth, and Ryan Dull (1-1) tossed three scoreless frames beginning in the eighth.
Nelson Gonzalez pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth for the Nuts. Gonzalez recorded the first two outs of the ninth and Kraig Sitton (4-3) came on to record the final out of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.
Sitton stayed in the game to pitch the bottom of the 10th and, after striking out Robinson to open the inning, gave up an opposite-field home run to Richard that ended the ballgame.
Sitton suffered the loss for Modesto while Dull picked up his first California League win, going three scoreless innings in relief and recording seven strikeouts.
The Ports and Nuts wrap up their three-game series on Saturday night at Banner Island Ballpark. James Simmons (5-3, 3.51 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Modesto right-hander Eddie Butler (3-1, 2.45 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.