SAN BERNARDINO - The San Jose Giants have been pushed to the brink of elimination after a 9-1 Game Two defeat to the Inland Empire 66ers on Friday evening at San Manuel Stadium. With the blowout victory, the 66ers take a two-games-to-none lead over the Giants in the best-of-five Championship Series. Game Three is set for Saturday night at Municipal Stadium.
Inland Empire's Danny Reynolds limited San Jose to one run and three hits over the first seven innings to pick-up the win. Reynolds walked none and struck out five during his dominant stint on the mound.
The game was scoreless through three innings before the Giants broke through with a run in the top of the fourth. Mac Williamson was hit by a pitch to start the inning before moving to second on a wild pitch. Ricky Oropesa's groundout to second then advanced Williamson to third before Trevor Brown delivered a sacrifice fly to right to make it 1-0.
Kyle Crick started for San Jose and allowed just two singles over the opening three innings retiring nine out of the first 11 batters. After the Giants took the lead, Crick quickly retired the first hitter of the bottom of the fourth, but then ran into trouble. With one out, league MVP Zach Borenstein lined a single into right field before Michael Snyder drew a nine-pitch walk. Brian Hernandez then lined an 0-2 pitch into right to plate Borenstein with the tying run as Snyder advanced to third. Crick followed by issuing a walk to Abel Baker to load the bases. Andy Workman was up next and he struck out swinging for the second out, but Crick then walked #9 batter Gary Mitchell on four pitches to force home Snyder giving the 66ers a 2-1 lead. With his pitch count at 35 for the inning, Crick was removed from the game as Stephen Harrold (1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) entered from the bullpen and retired Sherman Johnson on a groundout to third to end the frame and leave the bases loaded.
After both teams were retired in order in the fifth and the Giants went down 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth, Inland Empire produced two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend their lead. Facing Austin Fleet (1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO), Snyder singled to lead off before Workman stepped to the plate with two outs and launched a two-run homer to deep left. The home run, Workman's first of the postseason, increased the 66ers advantage to 4-1.
Inland Empire then blew the game open with a five-run, five-hit bottom of the seventh against Chris Marlowe (1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO). A one-out walk to Eric Stamets started the rally before Alex Yarbrough singled sharply to right putting runners on the corners. Borenstein followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1 and then the 66ers produced four straight hits. Snyder singled to keep the inning alive before Hernandez singled home the second run of the inning. Baker was up next and he blasted a double to the fence in center scoring two more runs and then Workman picked-up his third RBI of the night with another single to make it 9-1.
Meanwhile, Reynolds and relievers Eric Cendejas and Eduard Santos combined to retire 14 consecutive San Jose batters from the fourth through the ninth innings. After Mitch Delfino singled with two outs in the top of the fourth, the Giants didn't manage another baserunner until Williamson singled with one out in the ninth. Reynolds set down the last 10 San Jose hitters he faced before Cendejas (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) pitched a perfect top of the eighth and then Santos (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO) worked the ninth.
Crick was saddled with the loss after allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits over 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked three and struck out five.
Notes: The Giants have scored a total of just one run on seven hits over the first two games of the Championship Series … Inland Empire has outscored San Jose 13-1 … Delfino (2-for-3) had two of the Giants' four hits on Friday … The 66ers out-hit San Jose by an 11-4 margin … Inland Empire was 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position compared to the Giants' 0-for-2 … Reynolds had worked a total of only 2 1/3 innings (six runs allowed) in his first two postseason starts.
On Deck: The Giants and 66ers play Game Three of the best-of-five Championship Series on Saturday evening at Municipal Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM. Adalberto Mejia (7-4, 3.31 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Inland Empire is expected to counter with Drew Rucinski (2-2, 1.86 ERA). Tickets can be purchased by calling (408) 297-1435 or by visiting sjgiants.com. The game will also be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104.