VISALIA - Mac Williamson, Ricky Oropesa and Devin Harris each homered while Adalberto Mejia tossed six effective innings to propel the San Jose Giants to a 9-2 Game Three win over the Visalia Rawhide on Monday evening at Recreation Park. With the victory, San Jose takes a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-five North Division Series. Game Four is set for Tuesday night in Visalia.
Williamson (3-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) and Oropesa (2-for-5, HR, RBI) went back-to-back in the top of the first inning to give the Giants the early lead before Harris (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI) added a two-run homer later in the contest. Trevor Brown (3-for-5, RBI), Matt Duffy (2-for-4, 2B, RBI) and Jesus Galindo (2-for-3, 2 RBI) also produced multi-hit games at the plate for San Jose.
Mejia picked-up the win after scattering nine hits with two runs allowed (both earned) over six-plus innings of work. The left-hander walked one and struck out five during his 96-pitch effort. Austin Fleet (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) and Stephen Harrold (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO) then combined for three scoreless innings of relief to seal the victory.
The Giants wasted no time jumping on Visalia starting pitcher Eddie McKiernan, who tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his first playoff start last Wednesday against Modesto. With one out, Duffy drew a walk before Williamson stepped to the plate and lined a 1-1 pitch over the fence in left center for a two-run homer. Two pitches later, Oropesa launched a towering solo home run to deep right center field for a 3-0 lead.
The Rawhide answered with a run in the bottom of the first, but Mejia pitched out of a bases loaded jam to limit the damage in the inning. Gerson Montilla started the rally with a one-out walk before Jake Lamb singled. David Peralta then grounded a single into right to bring home Montilla with the first Visalia run of the night. Tom Belza followed with a grounder to shortstop, but the Giants failed to record an out on the play as the second baseman Brown was ruled to have come off the bag on an attempted force out. Brown was given an error as the Rawhide loaded the bases with still just one out. Mejia though settled down retiring Sean Jamieson on a pop out to first before Ryan Stovall flied out to right to end the inning.
Both starters settled down after the first as McKiernan faced the minimum nine hitters over the second, third and fourth frames. Mejia retired Visalia 1-2-3 in the second and fourth innings while pitching around two singles in the bottom of the third.
San Jose reclaimed their three-run advantage in the fifth as Elliott Blair doubled into the right field corner on the first pitch of the inning to start a rally. Blair then advanced to third on Galindo's sacrifice bunt. Schroder followed by grounding out, but Duffy came though with a clutch two-out hit when he smacked an RBI double into the left center field gap for a 4-1 advantage.
In the top of the sixth, Brown singled with one out before Harris belted a two-run homer down the left field line to make it 6-1 Giants. The home run was Harris' second of the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Mejia breezed through the fifth and sixth innings pitching around a two-out single in both frames. Trailing 6-1, the Rawhide rallied in the bottom of the seventh, but managed just one run in the inning. After Ronnie Freeman led off with an infield single, Evan Marzilli grounded a single into right. Kevin Medrano then beat out a slow roller in front of the plate for another infield hit as Visalia loaded the bases with none out. With the potential tying run in the on-deck circle, Fleet was summoned from the bullpen and he promptly induced the next batter, Montilla, to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Freeman scored to make it 6-2, but Fleet quickly got out of the inning by striking out the following batter, Lamb, on three pitches.
San Jose answered with two more runs in the top of the eighth as Harris walked with one out before Jeff Arnold reached on an infield single. Both runners advanced on a groundout and then each scored when Galindo lined a single into shallow center. The two-RBI hit pushed the Giants lead to 8-2.
Fleet escaped more trouble in the bottom of the eighth as an error and a single put runners on first and second with none out, but Jamieson flied out and Stovall grounded into an inning-ending double play.
In the top of the ninth, Williamson doubled with one out and scored San Jose's final run of the evening when Brown reached on a two-out infield single.
Harrold closed out the Rawhide with a scoreless bottom of the ninth striking out two and working around a two-out single.
McKiernan suffered the loss after he was charged with six runs (all earned) on eight hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out two.
Notes: The Giants scored only four runs over the first two games in the series before Monday's explosion … San Jose out-hit Visalia 15-11 … Eight out of the nine Giants starters recorded at least one hit … McKiernan's six earned runs allowed was a season-high … Harris and Oropesa have hit two home runs each over the first three games of the series.
On Deck: The Giants and Rawhide play Game Four of the best-of-five North Division Series on Tuesday evening at Recreation Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM. Clayton Blackburn (7-5, 3.65 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Visalia is expected to counter with Andrew Barbosa (11-9, 3.81 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 5:30 PM.