STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Ports' bats helped them snap a two-game losing skid on Monday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Stockton plated seven runs on 11 hits, including four runs on five hits in the fifth inning, en route to a 7-5 victory over the Bakersfield Blaze in the opener of a three-game series.
The Ports fell behind early as the Blaze scored a pair of runs with two outs in the second inning. John Tolisano singled to right and Juan Perez followed with a two-run homer to right to give Bakersfield a 2-0 advantage.
Stockton returned fire with three runs in the bottom half. Renato Nunez tripled to open the frame and scored on an ensuing infield single by Chad Pinder to cut the deficit in half. Three batters later, Ryon Healy lined an RBI double to right-center to tie the game at 2-2. Bobby Crocker followed with an RBI single to right to give Stockton the lead for good at 3-2.
Stockton's biggest inning of the night came in the fifth. Blaze starter Drew Cisco (1-1) gave up five straight singles to open the frame. The first three loaded the bases and the last two were back-to-back RBI singles to left by Daniel Robertson and Bruce Maxwell, at which point Cisco was lifted from the game. The Ports went on to add a pair of runs later in the inning on a fielder's choice force out on which two runners scored.
Cisco suffered his first loss of the season, going four-plus innings and allowing seven runs on nine hits while striking out two.
Ports starter Tim Atherton (1-0) did not allow a run outside of the second inning and went on to receive his first win of the season, going six innings and allowing two runs on six hits while striking out five.
Tucker Healy came on to pitch the seventh and gave up a leadoff double to Yovan Gonzalez. Two batters later, Juan Silva drove him home with an RBI single to right to make it 7-3. It was the first run Healy allowed on the season. Healy went on to retire the final five batters he faced as he set the side down in order in the eighth.
Nolan Sanburn came on to pitch the ninth in a non-save situation. With two outs and the bases empty, Sanburn walked Zach Vincej who took second on defensive indifference. Jon Matthews came up next and singled to right to drive in Vincej and cut the Blaze deficit to 7-4. Jesse Winker came up next and blooped a single to shallow center on which Matthews scored. Winker, however, would be caught in a rundown between first and second base to end the ballgame, depriving the Blaze of a chance to get the possible-tying run to the plate.
The Ports and the Blaze play the second game of their three-game set on Tuesday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Manny Correa (1-0, 2.77 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Bakersfield right-hander Mike Dennhardt (0-1, 5.14 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.