Late Rally Lifts Blaze To 6-5 Win Over Ports

Raul Padron hit is second home run in as many games. (George Steckler)

April 23, 2009 7:30 PM ET

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The losses keep coming for the Stockton Ports, and they keep getting tougher. With Stockton leading 5-3 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh on Thursday night, the Bakersfield Blaze scored three runs on three hits, taking a late lead and ultimately holding on for a 6-5 win over the Boys from Banner Island. The loss drops the Ports to 2-13 on the season.

The Ports wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard. With two outs in the top of the first, Matt Spencer worked a walk, stole second, and scored on an ensuing RBI single from Todd Johnson to give Stockton a 1-0 lead. Bakersfield was quick to get the run back in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Matthew Lawson knocked a solo homer to left to tie the score at one.

Stockton countered in the top of the second. After a leadoff walk to Frank Martinez and an error made by shortstop Renny Osuna, Larry Cobb dropped a sac-bunt and Alex Valdez brought in a run with a sac-fly to left, putting the Ports back ahead 2-1.

The Blaze would strike with the long-ball once again in the third. Ports starter Scott Mitchinson seemed to be cruising along, having recorded the first two outs of the inning with relative ease. Mauro Gomez, however, would double to left, and Tim Smith followed with a two-run homer to right, giving the Blaze their first lead of the night at 3-2.

The two home runs allowed by Mitchinson were the only runs he allowed in five-plus innings of work. Though he gave up nine hits, he allowed jus the three runs while striking out four and walking one in a no-decision.

Trailing 3-2 in the top of the fifth, the Ports would get their biggest hit of the night off Blaze starter Kennil Gomez. Gomez had fanned four straight batters, striking out the side in the fourth and the first batter he faced in the fifth. The string was broken up with back-to-back walks issued to Jermaine Mitchell and Matt Spencer. Two batters later, Raul Padron walloped a two-out, three-run homer to right to give the Ports a 5-3 lead.

Gomez experienced the best and worst of times for the Blaze in his start on Thursday. He went five innings and allowed five runs on just three hits, walking five and striking out eight.

Leading 5-3, the Ports handed the ball over to Pat Currin (0-2) after Mitchinson allowed a leadoff single in the sixth. Currin was immediately effective, getting Jose Felix to hit into a 3-6-1 double-play, and striking out Osuna to end the inning.

Currin seemed to be cruising in the seventh, recording back-to-back strikeouts to start the frame. Blaze three-hole hitter Mitch Moreland started a two-out rally with a single to left. Currin then walked Mauro Gomez, bringing up Smith with two on and two out. Smith hit a deep fly ball to right-center that fell just out of the reach of Spencer in right, scoring both runs and knotting the game at five. Ian Gac, who'd struck out in his three previous at-bats in the game, followed with an RBI double to the same spot in right-center, scoring Smith and giving the Blaze a 6-5 lead.

Currin would end up with the loss, allowing three runs on three hits (all with two outs in the seventh) in his 1.2 innings of work.

After Padron's homer in the fifth, Stockton's bats fell silent. The only hit after the fifth inning came on a one-out single from Spencer in the seventh. Spencer would go 2-for-3 on the night while reaching base four times and scoring twice.

Bakersfield picked up two innings of scoreless relief from Adalberto Flores (1-1) and Zach Phillips (SV, 1) to end the ballgame. Flores picked up the win, while Phillips, a graduate of Galt High School, earned his first save of the season.

Chad Kerfoot came on after Currin and retired all four batters he faced on the night.

The Ports and Blaze will play Game 2 of their four-game set on Friday night at Historic Sam Lynn Ballpark. Justin Murray (0-1, 1.50 ERA) will get the ball for Stockton, opposed by Bakersfield left-hander Tim Murphy (1-2, 9.95 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m. PST.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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