RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - The San Jose Giants suffered their third straight defeat to Rancho Cucamonga this week as the Quakes held on for a 3-2 victory on Wednesday afternoon at LoanMart Field. San Jose scored once in the top of the ninth and had the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base with two outs before their rally fell short. The Giants (9-11) have now lost seven out of their last nine games overall.
Johneshwy Fargas (2-for-4, RBI) and Ryan Howard (2-for-4) had two hits apiece to lead San Jose offensively in the loss.
Rancho Cucamonga (13-7) won their sixth straight game overall and maintained their perfect home record this season (9-0).
The content went back-and-forth early as the Quakes scored once in the bottom of the second against Giants starter Jake McCasland to take a 1-0 lead. Luke Raley led off the inning with a double to deep right center field before moving to third when Ibandel Isabel flied out. Zach McKinstry followed with a groundout to second bringing home Raley with the first run of the day.
San Jose immediately answered with a run of their own in the top of the third to tie the game. Newcomer Matt Winn began the frame by blasting a triple off the fence in deep right field. Winn then scored the tying run when the next batter, Christoph Bono, grounded out to second.
Rancho Cucamonga though came right back in the bottom of the third as DJ Peters belted a two-out solo home run to left. The homer, Peters' second of the series, put the Quakes back in front by a 2-1 margin.
Down by a run, the Giants threatened in the fourth and sixth innings, but left two runners on base in each frame. Bryan Reynolds and Gio Brusa drew consecutive one-out walks in the fourth, but were stranded when Jonah Arenado and Jose Vizcaino Jr. both struck out. In the sixth, Howard led off with a single before Brusa walked with one out. However, Arenado fouled out to third and Vizcaino Jr. struck out swinging to end the inning.
After McCasland tossed scoreless bottom of the fourth and fifth innings, Rancho Cucamonga extended their lead with a single run in the sixth against reliever Connor Kaden (3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO). With one out, Isabel singled before taking second when McKinstry grounded out. Garrett Kennedy then blooped a double into shallow left center field that brought home Isabel for a 3-1 Quakes advantage.
San Jose was sent down 1-2-3 in the seventh inning. In the eighth, Howard singled with one out to bring the tying run to the plate, but Reynolds flied out to deep right and Brusa struck out. Still trailing 3-1, the Giants rallied in the top of the ninth. Arenado led off with a line drive double into the right center field gap. Vizcaino Jr. followed with a single to put runners on the corners with none out. Rancho Cucamonga closer Shea Spitzbarth recovered with back-to-back three-pitch strikeouts of Winn and Bono, but Fargas then lined a single into right to plate Arenado cutting the Quakes lead in half. However, with the potential tying run at second and go-ahead run at first, Spitzbarth registered a swinging strikeout of Jalen Miller to end the game.
Wes Helsabeck (2-1) was credited with the win out of the Rancho Cucamonga bullpen after tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Helsabeck, who entered the game with two outs in the top of the fourth, allowed two hits, walked one and struck out three. Spitzbarth struck out four over the last two innings to collect his league-leading fifth save of the year.
McCasland (0-2) was saddled with the loss after yielding two runs (both earned) on five hits over five innings. The right-hander walked two and struck out five during his 82-pitch outing.
* San Jose's three-game skid has matched their longest losing streak of the season.
* The Giants have scored only five runs through the first three games of the series (.230 AVG).
* Howard extended his hitting streak to five games. He has multi-hits in nine out of his 18 games played this season.
* Both teams finished with seven hits. San Jose was 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
* Winn was added to the Giants before the game from Richmond (AA). Last season, Winn tied for the Augusta (A) team-lead with 13 home runs. Catcher John Riley was transferred to Extended Spring Training.
* Quakes starting pitcher Walker Buehler worked 3 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit and one run. He struck out four. Buehler was the 24th overall pick in the 2015 draft and is currently rated the #5 prospect in the Dodgers organization according to MLB.com.
* Wednesday's first pitch of 10:35 AM is the earliest start time for a San Jose game this season.
The Giants and Quakes conclude their four-game series on Thursday evening with first pitch at LoanMart Field scheduled for 7:05 PM. Conner Menez (1-0, 2.70 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Rancho Cucamonga is expected to counter with Yadier Alvarez (0-1, 13.50 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 6:45 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.