The San Jose Giants had the best pitching staff in the California League during the regular season, and Saturday night was no different.
Paul Oseguera and three relievers combined on a five-hitter as San Jose blanked visiting Visalia, 1-0, in Game 1 of the California League North Division Championship Series.
Oseguera (1-0) scattered four hits -- all singles -- while walking one and striking out eight over seven sinnings to win his third straight decision. Ronnie Ray faced three batters in the eighth, yielding a double and striking out two, before Jason Waddell fanned Gregory Thomson to end the threat. Sergio Romo tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his first postseason save.
"I felt better tonight than I had in the last month or so," Oseguera said. "I kept the fastball down, threw the curveball for a strike and was able to use the changeup later in the count."
The 23-year-old left-hander, who went 10-6 with a 3.54 ERA in the regular season, surrendered five runs over 3 2/3 innings in his final regular-season start. But in two starts against Visalia, he went 2-0 and allowed just three runs on seven hits over 14 innings, striking out 10 and walking one.
"They have a good lineup, so I didn't want to let up in any situation," said Oseguera, who was used exclusively as a reliever for 2006 Northwest League champion Salem-Keizer. "The defense made some good plays behind me. We were anxious to get the series started and let them know we were ready," he explained.
Travis Denker, who went 2-for-3, hit his first playoff homer with one out in the first for the game's only run.
Oaks starter Brett Anderson (0-1) allowed a run on three hits while striking out four and walking one in four frames. Anthony Cupps tossed four shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Frank Curreri went 2-for-3 for Visalia.
Game 2 of the best-of-5 series is Sunday at San Jose.