VISALIA - It was perhaps the wildest finish this ballpark has seen in 2013.
David Peralta came to the plate with two runners on and only one out in the bottom of the 9th inning in a 5-5 game. Peralta shot one into left center field and Kevin Medrano came hustling around third base to score the winning run, but his feet were moving too fast for his mind and he tripped and fell. It seemed as if the Curse of Chopper would rear its ugly head.
But center fielder Jesus Galindo mishandled the ball, allowing Kevin Medrano to get up and race home for the victory, as the Rawhide defeated San Jose 6-5 on Tuesday night at Rawhide Ballpark.
The Rawhide put runners at the corners to lead off the game and Medrano scored after a Peralta groundball went through the first baseman's legs. But Tom Belza and Sean Jamieson struck out to end the inning, limiting any sustained rally.
The Giants responded in the second inning by putting the first two runners on with nobody out. That brought Ricky Oropesa to the plate who made Andrew Barbosa pay with a three-run shot to right field, giving San Jose a 3-1 lead.
An Elliott Blair RBI-double and a sacrifice fly RBI from Matt Duffy made it 5-1 San Jose in the fourth inning.
But the Rawhide responded in a huge way in the bottom of the frame. Peralta and Belza led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and Sean Jamieson took Clayton Blackburn deep to right field to bring the Rawhide within one run.
Evan Marzilli picked the right time to hit his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot to right to tie the game up at 5-5.
Seth Simmons and Kaleb Fleck were terrific out of the bullpen, holding San Jose scoreless in the sixth through ninth innings.
The 'Hide had their opportunities to take the lead in the middle to late innings, but could not capitalize. They couldn't score with two runners on and nobody out in the fifth, grounding into a double play and grounding out to second base to end that threat. The first two runners also reached in the seventh, but back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout back to the pitcher kept Visalia at bay.
Sean Jamieson led off the eighth inning with a double, but three strikeouts in a row from reliever Jose Casilla kept the game tied.
But the 'Hide finally took advantage of a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the ninth. Medrano led the inning off with a single up the middle and Gerson Montilla was able to sacrifice him into scoring position.
After Jake Lamb was intentionally walked, that brought Peralta to the plate. Peralta drove one out of the infield for what was sure to be a walk off hit. The fall by Medrano made things tense, but the error in center field kept the hopes of a California League Championship alive for Visalia.
Game 5 will be played in San Jose with first pitch coming at 7:05 pm.