VISALIA, Calif. - Stockton Ports starting pitcher Tanner Peters (11-6) turned in his second straight eye-popping performance on Saturday night, but this time it wasn't enough for a victory. The Visalia Rawhide scored five runs over the last three innings as they handed the Ports their first loss of the road trip, 8-5 at Recreation Ballpark.
Peters struck out the side in each of the first three innings, but in the third he gave up three hits that led to three runs. Kevin Medrano doubled to start the inning and Gerson Montilla followed with a single that put runners at the corners. After Peters struck out Jake Lamb, David Peralta hit a three-run homer to right that put Visalia in front 3-0.
Stockton got on the board at the start of the fifth. Bruce Maxwell led off the inning with a home run off Rawhide starter Eddie McKiernan to make it 3-1.
McKiernan would not see the end of the sixth inning. With one out, Bobby Crocker doubled and Tony Thompson hit a two-run homer to left, his third home run in the last two games, to tie the game at 3-3. McKiernan walked B.A. Vollmuth and gave up a single to Antonio Lamas and was lifted for Cody Wheeler (6-5), who threw a wild pitch to put runners at second and third with one out. Wheeler, however, struck out Maxwell and two batters later, struck out Wade Kirkland to end the threat.
McKiernan received a no-decision, going 5.1 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits. Wheeler picked up the win as he tossed two-thirds of an inning scoreless.
Peters came back out for the sixth and began the inning by recording his 12th strikeout of the game. Tom Belza reached on an infield single with one out, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on an ensuing single by Joash Brodin to give the Rawhide the lead back at 4-3. Peters was lifted at that point for Pedro Viola. Viola, facing Sean Jamieson, induced a pop-fly to center that Crocker couldn't see through the lights as it fell in for a double. Steven Rodriguez came up next and hit a two-run single to right to increase the Rawhide lead to 6-3.
Peters suffered the loss, his fourth at the hands of the Rawhide, going 5.1 innings and allowing five runs on eight hits while striking out 12. Viola gave up a run on two hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Stockton pushed back with a pair of runs in the seventh against Rawhide reliever Kaleb Fleck. With one out, Addison Russell was hit by a pitch, Crocker doubled to right, and Thompson drove them both in with a two-run single to left to make it a 6-5 game. Fleck would induce back-to-back groundouts after the Thompson two-run single to end the inning and then go on to pitch a scoreless eighth.
Darren Byrd took over in the seventh and gave up a leadoff home run to Lamb that increased the Rawhide lead to 7-5. Byrd would go on to have the bases loaded with one out, but escaped the jam with a shallow fly out to center and a deep fly out to left.
Seth Frankoff pitched the eighth for Stockton and gave up a leadoff double to Medrano. Montilla followed with a single that put runners at the corners, and Lamb hit into a 4-6-3 double-play that allowed an insurance run to score, making it an 8-5 game.
R.J. Hively (SV, 10) pitched a scoreless ninth to record his 10th save of the season.
Thompson went 3-for-5 with four RBI, giving him 14 RBI over the last three games. Peters has now recorded 26 strikeouts and not allowed a walk over his last 13.2 innings pitched.
The Ports and Rawhide play the rubber match of their three-game set on Sunday at Recreation Ballpark. In a battle of southpaws, Shaeffer Hall (4-4, 6.23 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Visalia's Daniel Watts (1-4, 9.72 ERA). First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. PDT.