MODESTO, Calif. - The Stockton Ports have officially been eliminated from playoff contention in 2013. The Ports held a 3-0 lead on the Modesto Nuts in the fifth inning, but Modesto would go on to score six unanswered runs, including three in the sixth inning to beat the Ports 6-3 and clinch a playoff berth.
The Ports opened the scoring in the third inning. With runners at second and third and two away, Addision Russell singled to center to score Rashun Dixon and Dusty Robinson and give the Ports a 2-0 lead.
Stockton added to its lead in the fourth inning. Tony Thompson singled and scored on an ensuing Bruce Maxwell, stretching the lead to 3-0.
Modesto scored its first run in the fifth as Harold Riggins hit a solo home run off Ports starter James Simmons (8-8) to make it a 3-1 game.
Nuts starter T.J. Oakes, who made his California League debut in the contest, walked Russell and hit Bobby Crocker to open the sixth inning, at which point he was lifted for Nelson Gonzalez (5-6), who escaped the jam without allowing a run. Oakes would receive a no-decision while Gonzalez, who pitched three innings and retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, picked up the victory.
Brian Humphries singled to open the bottom of the sixth and Ryan Casteel followed with a single to center that was misplayed by Crocker, as the ball got by him enabling Humphries to score and Casteel to reach second. Jared Simon came up next and singled to center to score Casteel and tie the game at 3-3. After Trevor Story reached on a fielding error committed by B.A. Vollmuth, Jordan Ribera hit a sac-fly to left that scored Simon and put Modesto in front 4-3.
Simmons suffered the loss as he went six full innings and allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out four.
T.J. Walz took over in the seventh and pitched his first inning scoreless. In the eighth, however, Walz gave up a one out double to Ribera and walked Matt Wessinger. With two on and two out, Tyler Massey hit a two-run double off the center field fence that scored both runners and increased the Nuts lead to 6-3.
Scott Oberg (SV, 33) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to notch his league-leading 33rd save of the season.
The Ports and Nuts play the second game of their four-game set on Saturday at John Thurman Field. Raul Alcantara (5-4, 3.45 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Modesto right-hander Chris Jensen (4-8, 4.61 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.