STOCKTON - Matt Lujan struck out a career-high 13 and allowed just one run over 7 1/3 innings in San Jose's 4-1 victory over the Stockton Ports on Sunday evening at Banner Island Ballpark. The Giants have now won two out of the first three games in the series while claiming their 12th victory in their last 16 contests overall.
Lujan (3-1), a Stockton native, surrendered just three hits and issued one walk during his masterful pitching performance to pick-up the win. Bryce Bandilla (2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO) then struck out two batters to end the bottom of the eighth before Tyler Mizenko (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO) worked a scoreless ninth inning to seal the victory. Mizenko recorded his ninth save of the year.
Offensively, Elliott Blair (3-for-4, 2 2B, SB) and Chuckie Jones (3-for-4, RBI) had three hits apiece to lead the way. Trevor Brown (2-for-3, 2 RBI) added two hits and two RBI's.
San Jose jumped out early with a pair of runs in the top of the second against Ports All-Star starting pitcher Seth Streich. With two outs, Blair ripped a double down the right field line before Jones lined an RBI single up the middle to score the first run of the night. After Brown singled to put runners on first and second, Ydwin Villegas stepped to the plate and doubled into the right center field gap plating Jones for a 2-0 advantage.
Lujan began his start with two scoreless innings and had retired seven out of the first eight batters he faced until Bobby Crocker smacked a one-out solo homer to left center in the bottom of the third. The home run, Crocker's seventh of the season, trimmed the Giants lead to 2-1.
San Jose though responded with a run of their own in the top of the fourth. Blair led off with a single and stole second with one out. Brown then lined a single into right center bringing home Blair to make it 3-1.
Lujan then cruised through the Stockton lineup retiring 11 consecutive hitters after the Crocker home run. The Giants starter worked 1-2-3 fourth, fifth and sixth innings notching five more strikeouts over the three frames. In the bottom of the seventh, Lujan issued a leadoff walk to Matt Olson, but recovered to strikeout the next three hitters to end the inning.
With San Jose still ahead 3-1, Lujan returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and surrendered a leadoff double into the right center gap off the bat of Chad Oberacker - the Ports' first hit since the third inning. Lujan though came back to strikeout Ryan Gorton for the first out. At 99 pitches for the game, Lujan was removed as Bandilla entered from the bullpen. The Giants reliever quickly then got out of the inning registering consecutive swinging strikeouts of Crocker and Jaycob Brugman.
San Jose added an insurance run in the top of the ninth as Blair led off with a double before moving to third on a Jones bunt single. Jones was then thrown out at second attempting to steal, but Brown followed with a sacrifice fly to right plating Blair for a 4-1 cushion.
In the bottom of the ninth, Mizenko walked Daniel Robertson to start the frame, but followed with back-to-back strikeouts of Olson and Ryon Healy before Bruce Maxwell grounded out to end the game. Maxwell's groundout marked the first Ports batter not retired via a strikeout since the sixth inning - a span of nine consecutive outs.
Streich (9-5), who entered the game third in the league in ERA and second in strikeouts, was saddled with the loss. Streich allowed three runs (all earned) on eight hits over six innings. He struck out six and walked none.
Notes: Lujan's 7 1/3 innings was also a career-high … His 13 strikeouts matched the most by a Giants pitcher in a game this season (Kendry Flores, June 22 at Visalia) … Lujan's previous career-high in strikeouts was eight … San Jose pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts on Sunday … The Giants out-hit the Ports 10-3 … San Jose was 4-for-5 with runners in scoring position … The #6 through #8 hitters of Blair, Jones and Brown were a combined 8-for-11 with four runs scored and three RBI's … Brian Ragira's hitting streak was snapped at 12 games after finishing 0-for-4 … The Giants improved to 14-10 in the second half - three games behind Stockton (17-7) for the top spot in the North Division.
On Deck: The Giants and Ports conclude their four-game series on Monday evening with first pitch at Banner Island Ballpark scheduled for 7:05 PM. Joe Biagini (6-5, 3.90 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Stockton is expected to counter with Jake Sanchez (3-0, 3.12 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM.