Technically, Sunday wasn't "Matt Lujan Day" at Banner Island Ballpark, but if you had attended the game between Class A Advanced San Jose and Stockton, you could be forgiven for believing that was the case.
A native of Stockton, Lujan started for the Giants. A great deal of friends and family members showed up to watch him pitch, and it's unlikely that any of them -- or Lujan himself -- imagined he would perform so well.
The Giants prospect racked up a career-high 13 strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings and helped San Jose shut down the Ports, 4-1.
"It's overwhelming, to be honest with you," Lujan said. "I felt great and the outing was great, but to see the support, you see the fan base at home and how many people support you, that's really just heartwarming. I'm blessed. It was awesome."
The 25-year-old left-hander scattered three hits, allowing a single to Ryon Healy in the second inning, a solo homer to Bobby Crocker in the third and a double to Chad Oberacker in the eighth. A walk to Matt Olson in the seventh produced the Ports' only other baserunner against him.
Lujan (3-1) fanned two in each of the first two innings, one in the third, two more in the fourth and one each in the fifth and sixth. After striking out the side in the seventh, he got one more whiff in the eighth. Against him, seven Ports went down swinging and six were caught looking.
"It was a mixture of the changeup, cutter and two-seam [fastball]," he said. "I threw the two-seam away, opposite arm side -- so in to a righty and away from a lefty -- really well today. Most of the off-speed was on, all three of them were there tonight, for the most part, which helped. When you can throw almost everything in any count, it feels good and you have a lot of confidence up there."
It was the longest outing as a pro for Lujan, who went 6-2 with a 2.19 ERA over 12 games at Class A Augusta, whom he represented in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. His previous high for strikeouts in a game was eight, which he reached on three occasions, including twice for the GreenJackets.
In four starts with San Jose, Lujan owns a 3.60 ERA. He had looked forward to the start in Stockton since being promoted toward the end of June.
"I had friends calling me when I got to San Jose three weeks ago, telling me that they were going to be in town for the outing," he said. "I gave about 40 hugs after the game, took a bunch of pictures and signed a bunch of autographs. And that's fun, to see people you haven't seen in a couple years, have them come out. Yeah, it was great."
While Sunday marked a career highlight for Lujan, his road to this moment was far from charmed. Instead of being drafted in June 2011, the University of San Francisco product underwent Tommy John surgery. The Giants signed him on April 13, 2012.
The obstacles Lujan has been forced to overcome made Sunday that much more enjoyable for him.
"It was special," he said. "I just had a ton of energy today. You come home and you look in the stands and you see 50-plus people, probably more than that, there for you, and it gets you excited. I felt good when I woke up. I was excited."
Batterymate Trevor Brown drove in a pair of runs, while right fielder Chuckie Jones and shortstop Ydwin Villegas had the Giants' other RBIs. Jones and left fielder Elliot Blair both went 3-for-4, with the latter contributing a pair of doubles.
Stockton starter Seth Streich (9-5) had a personal five-game winning streak snapped, losing for the first time since May 23. He gave up three runs on eight hits over six innings, striking out six.