Billy McKinney and the Stockton Ports came up just short in their pursuit of a division crown during the season's first half. They've come out of the All-Star Break with renewed fire as a result.
Oakland's No. 2 prospect belted a home run in his fifth multi-hit game in his last eight outings and No. 5 Matt Olson added two more as Class A Advanced Stockton completed a series sweep of Bakersfield with a 9-6 win.
The Ports continued their scorching June with their 13th victory in 17 games, including the first four of the season's second half. Stockton racked up 15 hits against the California League North Division's first-half champions Sunday.
"I feel like we've been playing this way the whole first half," McKinney said. "Bakersfield just edged us out. They played great and had a great first half. I feel like we haven't really changed much, but I don't feel like it's a big, key series because I know we still have 60-some games here in the second half. We've got to keep it up."
The center fielder has lifted his average over 30 points in 30 days, from a .205 mark on May 23 to .236 after Sunday's win.
"I haven't really changed anything, just tried to keep a level head, which going through a season, is tough," he said. "Sometimes you go through rough times. Sometimes you go through good grooves. I'm just trying to keep a level head, trying to see the pitch and trying to hit it where they're not."
Trailing by a run, Stockton erupted in a five-run third inning. Olson hammered a two-run shot with one out and McKinney followed with a three-run homer three batters later. Daniel Robertson belted a two-run homer in the fourth and ripped an RBI single in the seventh.
In the eighth, Olson greeted Bakersfield reliever James Allen with a solo blast, his California League-leading 19th of the season.
"[Olson] goes up to every at bat like it's a new at-bat and tries to put the barrel on the ball," McKinney said. "He's so big and strong, he'll get it out of the yard. It's pretty fun to watch when he gets a hold of one, that's for sure."
Seth Streich (8-4) gave up two runs -- one earned -- on three hits while striking out seven and not issuing a walk in six innings en route to the win. No. 10 A's prospect Nolan Sanburn worked around a hit in the ninth for his third save.
No. 9 Reds prospect Ismael Guillon (0-1) was roughed up in his California League debut. He suffered the loss after being tagged for seven runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out two in 3 2/3 innings.