Ports lose 3-1 on Opening Night

Offense not match stingy Ports pitching

Derrick Gordon held the Giants scoreless for three innings. (George Steckler)

By Kristin Pratt / Stockton Ports | April 16, 2009 9:08 PM ET

STOCKTON, Calif.-The Stockton Ports pitchers put up 6.2 scoreless innings and struck out 12 total San Jose batters--southpaw reliever Derrick Gordon accounted for six strikeouts in three innings-but their strong performance wasn't enough to push the Ports into the win column.

The Ports offense continued to struggle, as they left seven batters on base and totaled just five hits, scoring just a run in a 3-1 loss to the San Jose in their home opener. The Ports (0-8) have not lost eight consecutive games since July 9-18, 2007. The Giants advanced to 6-2 in the California League with the victory.

Right-handed pitcher Craig Italiano picked up his second loss of the season, despite putting in five solid innings of work, allowing just two earned runs and two hits, and striking out six. Left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner, one of the top prospects in the Giants organization, finished the game with 5.0 innings pitched, and four hits on one unearned run.

Following the firework display and the championship ring ceremony, starter Craig Italiano got off to a strong start, shutting down the first three batters he faced. He ran into a little bit of trouble in the second, allowing two earned runs. Giants catcher Buster Posey led off the second with a double, and was followed on base by Michael Ambort, who walked, and Roger Kieschnick, who was hit by a pitch. Buster Posey scored on a wild pitch while first baseman Angel Villalona was at the plate, and a sacrifice fly by Villalona scored Ambort, giving the Giants a 2-0 lead.

The Ports answered back in the bottom of the second, as center fielder Jermaine Mitchell led the inning with a single. He came around to score the lone Stockton run when Shane Keough slammed an RBI infield single hard up the middle to Bumgarner. Keough finished the game 2x4, extending his hitting streak to three games.

From there it was a taut 2-1 duel, as Italiano and Gordon blanked the Giants. Of the 10 batters he faced, Gordon struck out six. The 12 total strikeouts sets a new season-high for the Ports and Gordon's six strikeouts sets a new-season high for relievers.

But while the Ports pitchers were tightening the screws on the Giants batters from the third to the eighth inning, the San Jose pitchers were also following suit. Todd Johnson hit a double down the right field line in the sixth inning, but the Ports batters where unable to bring him home. The Ports did not put a runner on base after Johnson's double, and the last 11 Stockton batters were retired in a row.

The Giants added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning, a solo home run by Angel Villalona, off Chad Kerfoot. The Ports went quietly in the bottom of the ninth to end in a 1-2-3 fashion.

The Ports will face the Giants at Banner Island Ballpark on Friday for their sixth meeting this season. RHP Scott Hodsdon (0-1, 12.00) will square off against Giants LHP Scott Barnes (1-0, 0.00) in a 7:05 showdown.

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

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