STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Ports scored the last four runs of the game on Wednesday night, but an early six-run deficit to the Inland Empire 66ers was too much to overcome. The 66ers scored seven runs over the first three innings on their way to a 7-5 win over the Ports as they sent Stockton to a fourth straight loss at Banner Island Ballpark.
Ports starter Chris Bassitt (0-1), who started the game on a Major League rehab assignment, had a rough go of it in the first inning. Bassitt gave up five straight hits to open the ballgame, including RBI singles by Taylor Ward and Kyle Survance, Jr. After Connor Justus hit into a double play, Jared Walsh hit an RBI single to right with two outs to give Inland Empire a 4-0 lead.
Bassitt would suffer the loss, going an inning-and-a-third and allowing four runs on six hits while striking out one He threw 29 pitches, 21 for strikes.
Stockton's first run came in the second inning as Eli White doubled with one out and scored two batters later when Edwin Diaz reached on an infield single. On the back end of the infield single, Walsh, the 66ers first baseman, in an effort to pick the ball out of the dirt, had the ball go off his glove and into right field. The error allowed White to score Stockton's first run of the contest.
Inland Empire came back with three runs in the third off Brandon Bailey. Taylor Ward led off with a home run to make it 5-1. Later in the inning with two on and two out, Cody Ramer hit a two-run ground rule double to left to make it a 7-1 Inland Empire advantage. Bailey would go 3.2 innings and allow three runs on four hits while striking out six.
Stockton got two runs back in the bottom of the third. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Sandber Pimentel reached on a fielder's choice force play that brought in a run and Seth Brown followed with a line drive single off the wall in right to bring in a second run and make it a 7-3 score. Those were the final runs allowed by 66ers starter Jose Rodriguez (7-7), who earned the win after going 5.2 innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits while walking four and striking out six.
After Sam Holland took over with two outs in the sixth and pitched a perfect inning-and-a-third, Jonah Wesely took over in the eighth and would give up a single, hit a batter and walk a batter to load the bases with two outs. Nathan Bates (SV, 4) came in from the bullpen and issued a bases-loaded walk to Diaz that brought the Ports to within three runs at 7-4. Bates would strike out Santiago Chavez to strand the bases loaded and escape further trouble.
Bates would pitch the ninth inning and after retiring the first two batters, gave up a home run to Brett Siddall that made it 7-5. After Mikey White singled, Brown came to the plate as the possible-tying run and flew out to left to end the ballgame. Bates would pick up his fourth save of the season.
Brendon Butler pitched the final four innings for Stockton and did not allow a run. He gave up three hits and struck out four.
The Ports and 66ers play the second game of their four-game set on Thursday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Norge Ruiz (1-0, 4.50 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Inland Empire right-hander Luis Pena (4-8, 5.48 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.