SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The Stockton Ports took the rubber game of a three-game series with the Inland Empire 66ers and, in doing so, delivered their biggest come-from-behind victory of the season on Thursday night. The Ports erased a five-run deficit heading into the eighth inning and scored six runs over the final two frames, including four in the ninth, to shock the 66ers and win the final game of the series by a final of 7-6 at San Manuel Stadium.
The Ports had Chris Bassitt start the game on a Major League rehab assignment. Bassitt threw one perfect inning and struck out two, including a rehabbing Mike Trout. He threw 11 pitches, eight for strikes.
After the Ports squandered a bases-loaded opportunity with nobody out in the top of the second, Brendan Butler took over in the bottom of the second and, with two on and two out, gave up an RBI single to Jordan Serena that gave the 66ers a 1-0 lead. With runners at the corners, the 66ers executed a double-steal on which Jake Yacinich came home from third to make it a 2-0 contest.
Inland Empire made it a 3-0 lead in the third. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Matt Thaiss hit into a double-play on which a run scored. Stockton grabbed its first run in the bottom of the fourth as Mikey White doubled with one out and scored on an ensuing RBI single by Seth Brown to cut the deficit to 3-1. It was the only run allowed by 66ers starter Jose Rodriguez, who was rendered a no-decision after going five innings and allowing six hits while striking out five.
Butler would give up three runs in the fourth inning and issue two walks that put two aboard with two outs. Brennan Lund doubled to right field to drive in two runs and Lund scored on an ensuing single by Troy Montgomery to make it a 6-1 66ers lead.
Butler, who pitched innings five through seven without allowing another run, would not factor into the decision after being on the hook for the loss. He went six innings and allowed six runs on eight hits while walking four.
After two scoreless innings thrown by 66ers reliever Nathan Bates, Samil De Los Santos (1-1) took over in the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Brett Siddall, followed by a two-run homer to Mikey White that got the Ports to within three runs at 6-3. De Los Santos went on to strike out the next three batters to end the frame.
De Los Santos came back for the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Skye Bolt. Eli White traded places with Bolt on a fielder's choice force play and Nate Mondou followed with a single that put two on with one out and brought the possible-tying run to the plate. Sandber Pimentel would work a walk to load the bases and Siddall came up next and drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in White and make it a 6-4 game. De Los Santos was then lifted for Jhondaniel Medina, who got Mikey White to ground out weakly to third, bringing in another run to make it a 6-5 game. With runners at the corners and two outs, Brown stepped to the plate and delivered an opposite-field two-run triple to left that vaulted the Ports in front by a 7-6 score.
All the runs in the ninth inning were charged to De Los Santos, who suffered the loss after allowing six runs on four hits over an inning-and-a-third.
Joey Wagman (2-2), who pitched a perfect eighth, came back for the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Montgomery followed by a walk to Brendon Sanger that put the possible-tying and winning runs aboard. Wagman would get Thaiss to strike out, Jose Rojas to fly out and strike out Michael Barash to escape the jam and seal the victory for Stockton. Wagman would go on to pick up the win in the contest.
The five-run comeback is Stockton's largest comeback of the season as they'd erased four-run deficits in two previous games this season.
After taking two of three at Inland Empire, the Ports continue their road trip as they head to Lancaster for a four-game set with the JetHawks. Brandon Bailey (1-0, 8.31 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Lancaster right-hander Trey Killian (6-4, 6.55 ERA). First pitch at The Hangar is set for 6:35 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.