Curreri powers Oaks past Giants

Catcher homers twice as Visalia avoids elimination with 6-3 victory

Frank Curreri clubbed a solo homer in the second inning and a two-run shot in the fifth. (Ken Weisenberger)

September 10, 2007 10:45 PM ET

The slumping Visalia Oaks needed a boost, and Frank Curreri provided it.

The 24-year-old catcher went 3-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs as Visalia staved off elimination with a 6-3 victory over visiting San Jose on Monday in Game 3 of the California League North Division Finals.

Held scoreless through 19 innings while dropping the first two games of the best-of-5 series, the Oaks finally found their stroke with their season on the line.

Curreri got them started with his second homer of the playoffs, a solo shot that sparked a four-run second inning. Mayo Santana hit a two-run blast and Gerardo Parra added a sacrifice fly later in the frame as the Oaks took their first lead of the series, 4-2.

"Hitting home runs is always cool, but for the team it was big," said Curreri, who hit four homers in 62 regular-season games with Visalia. "We haven't been held scoreless much this season and for it to happen twice in a row was a surprise. [The homer] was a boost for us to be sure."

Curreri connected for a two-run blast in the fifth for his second multi-homer game of the year. He also belted a pair against Lake Elsinore on June 25.

"Well, there was a runner [John Hester] at first and having faced [starter Joseph] Martinez a few times before, I knew his go-to pitch was his changeup," Curreri said. "He threw me one in my second at-bat and I grounded out, so I was looking for it and he threw it middle-away. I put a good swing on it and was able to hit it out."

Oaks starter Hector Ambriz (2-0) allowed three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings to pick up the win. Kyle Wright and Forrest Cory combined for 1 1/3 scoreless frames before Barry Enright pitched around a walk in the ninth for his second playoff save.

"Hector was excellent," Curreri said. "He had good command of all of his pitches and pounded the strike zone. He did an excellent job for us. In fact, all of our pitchers were very, very good tonight."

Travis Denker lifted a sacrifice fly in the first and slugged a solo homer, his third of the postseason, in the third for the Giants, who outscored the Oaks, 6-0, in the first two games.

Martinez (0-1) was pounded for six runs on seven hits and four walks with two strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings.

Michael Avallone is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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