SAN JOSE - Chris Stratton struck out nine over six dominant innings and the Giants pounded out 15 hits in a 6-2 victory over the Bakersfield Blaze on Thursday afternoon at Municipal Stadium. With the win, San Jose completes a sweep of the three-game series and moves over .500 overall (46-45) for the first time since the opening week of the season.
Stratton (6-8) allowed just five hits and two unearned runs with one walk during his outing to pick-up the win. The right-hander retired 14 out of the first 16 batters he faced.
Jesus Galindo (3-for-5, 3B, RBI) had three hits while Brian Ragira (2-for-4, HR, RBI) connected for his ninth home run of the season to lead a balanced offensive attack. Blake Miller (2-for-4, RBI), Mitch Delfino (2-for-4, SB), Ben Turner (2-for-3, RBI) and Shawn Payne (2-for-4, 3B, RBI) added two hits apiece for the Giants.
San Jose jumped on Blaze starter Drew Cisco early scoring five runs over the first three innings to build a 5-0 lead. Galindo led off the bottom of the first with a single to left and was at third with two down after back-to-back groundouts. Miller then reached on an infield single to second plating Galindo with the first run of the afternoon.
In the bottom of the second, Turner led off with a single and immediately scored when the next batter, Payne, tripled down the left field line. After Alberto Robles lined out, Galindo ripped a single into right to score Payne for a 3-0 lead. Then after Elliott Blair singled to move Galindo to third, Brandon Bednar produced an RBI groundout to make it 4-0.
The Giants kept the pressure on with another run in the bottom of the third. Delfino began the frame with a single before taking second on Ragira's groundout. Delfino then stole third and scored a pitch later when Turner hit a sacrifice fly to right.
Meanwhile, Stratton breezed through the first five innings allowing just one hit - a leadoff double to Juan Perez in the top of the third. Stratton set down Bakersfield 1-2-3 in the second, fourth and fifth innings. He had retired nine straight hitters until David Vidal led off the top of the sixth with a single. Yovan Gonzalez was up next and he hit a high fly ball down the left field line that was dropped by Payne for an error. The misplay allowed Vidal to take second while Gonzalez was safe at first. After Jeff Gelalich flied out, Zach Vincej grounded an RBI single into right for the Blaze's first run. Marquez Smith followed with a grounder to second that saw the Giants force out Vincej, however the throw to first, in an attempt to complete an inning-ending double play, was dropped by Ragira. The second error of the inning brought Gonzalez home to cut the lead to 5-2. Stratton though recovered to strikeout the next batter, Sean Buckley, on three pitches to end the inning.
Stratton returned to the mound in the top of the seventh and promptly allowed back-to-back singles to Sebastian Elizalde and Harold Riggins. With the potential tying run at the plate, Mason McVay was summoned from the bullpen and he induced Perez to ground into a double play. Vidal then flied out to right to retire the side.
San Jose pushed their lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the seventh when Ragira launched a two-out solo home run to deep left.
McVay (2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) allowed a pair of two-out singles in the top of the eighth, but came back to strikeout Buckley to end the threat. Bryce Bandilla (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO) then needed just nine pitches to work a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to seal the victory.
Cisco (4-3) was saddled with the loss after yielding five runs (all earned) on 12 hits over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked none.
Notes: San Jose swept their third series of the season (vs. High Desert June 3-5, at Modesto July 1-3) … The Giants held the Blaze to five runs during the three-game set … Ragira (10 games) and Blair (9 games) each extended hitting streaks … Ragira's nine home runs this season are tied for the team lead (Delfino) … Bednar (0-for-4, RBI), the only San Jose starter without a hit on Thursday, saw his hitting streak end at eight games … The Giants out-hit Bakersfield 15-7 … San Jose's 15 hits was one off of their season-high … The Blaze were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position … The Giants were last over .500 overall on April 7 (3-2 record).
On Deck: The Giants travel to Stockton on Friday night to begin a four-game series against the Ports at Banner Island Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM. Kendry Flores (3-6, 4.94 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Stockton is expected to counter with Chris Lamb (3-1, 3.96 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM.