LAKE ELSINORE, CA (August 26th, 2013) -- Modesto wrapped their road slate for the 2013 regular season with a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Storm on Monday night at The Diamond.
With San Jose still in action at the completion of tonight's game, the Nuts temporarily hold a two and half game lead in the North Division second-half standings with only seven to play.
Modesto finished the long road trip with strong 5-2 effort, finishing the year with a 34-36 mark away from John Thurman Field.
Matt Wessinger opened the game with a single, and after an error moved him to third, he quickly scored on an RBI single from Trevor Story. Modesto's offense stalled from there, eventually leaving the bases loaded against Storm starter James Needy. Needy would hit cruise control the rest of the way, holding the next 20 consecutive batters without a hit. He put away 15 straight until a two-out error in the sixth by B.J. Guinn allowed Jared Simon to reach.
Needy (9-5), who picked up the win, was lifted after throwing only 74 pitches.
The Nuts held a 1-0 lead until the fourth when the Storm rallied for four runs (three earned against Chris Jensen. Lake Elsinore added a run in the fifth, and opened the sixth with a pair of singles to end his night. Patrick Johnson came on in relief with no outs in the sixth, and prohibited the Storm to score. The Nuts bullpen did not allow a hit the rest of the way.
Jensen (4-8) was charged for the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits.
Modesto was able to get within striking distance in the seventh as the Nuts drew two walks on Dan Cortes, and Wessinger came through with a 2-out 2-run double to make it 5-3. But, the Storm 'pen retired the final seven batters of the night to hang on for the win.
Dennis O'Grady worked a perfect ninth to rack up his 9th save of the season.
The Nuts now return home for the final seven games of the regular season. Modesto will play host to Inland Empire in a three-game set starting on Tuesday night. RHP Tyler Gagnon (11-9, 5.45) takes the hill for the Nuts. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. from John Thurman Field.