STOCKTON, Calif. - Over the course of their four-game losing streak, the Stockton Ports had been falling behind big early in games. Stockton turned the tables on Thursday night versus the Inland Empire 66ers. The Ports hit a pair of two-run homers over the first two innings and added three runs in the fifth on their way to a lopsided 7-1 win at Banner Island Ballpark.
66ers starter Luis Pena (4-9) battled through command issues in the first inning as he issued a leadoff walk to Skye Bolt and, two batters later, gave up a two-run homer to Brett Siddall that gave Stockton a 2-0 lead. The Ports added two more runs in the second when, with one on and two out, Nate Mondou hit his second homer of the year to make it a 4-0 advantage.
Pena kept Stockton out of the run column over the next two innings but gave up a leadoff double to Bolt in the fifth followed by a walk to Mondou. Siddall stepped to the plate and delivered an RBI single to right to make it a 5-0 game and chase Pena from the game. Winston Lavendier came on and faced Sandber Pimentel who put a ball in play to second baseman Jake Yacinich, who had the ball go under his glove for an error that led to a sixth run. Three batters later, Luis Barrera reached on a fielder's choice force play that resulted in another run that brought the Ports lead to 7-0.
Pena suffered the loss, going four-plus innings and allowing seven runs (six earned) on six hits while walking four and striking out five.
Ports starter Norge Ruiz (2-0) escaped a bases-loaded, one out jam in the second inning and went on to keep Inland Empire out of the run column through six innings of work. Ruiz earned his second straight victory, going six innings and scattering seven hits while walking two and striking out a career-best eight.
After Joey Wagman and Andrew Tomasovich pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning, respectively, Armando Ruiz took over in the ninth and saw Yacinich reach on a one-out fielding error committed by shortstop Eli White. Two batters later with two outs, Troy Montgomery spoiled Stockton's shutout bid with an RBI single to left to make it 7-1. The run was unearned for Ruiz and the only run allowed by the Ports on the night.
The Ports and 66ers play the third game of their four-game set on Friday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Angel Duno (6-6, 5.67 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Inland Empire right-hander Austin Robichaux (2-6, 8.10 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.