STOCKTON, CA - The San Jose Giants saw their late rally fall short on Monday night in a 5-4 loss to the Stockton Ports at Banner Island Ballpark. The Giants (32-32) plated single runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but left the bases loaded in the final frame to suffer the series-opening defeat. With the win, Stockton clinched the first half North Division title.
Matt Winn (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI) smacked a two-run home run while Jalen Miller (2-for-5) and Heath Quinn (2-for-4) produced two hits apiece to lead San Jose offensively in the loss.
The Ports took the early lead in the contest with a run in the bottom of the first against Giants starter Conner Menez. Rehabbing Oakland A's outfielder Boog Powell walked to start the inning before taking second on a Nate Mondou groundout. Powell then stole third and scored when Skye Bolt hit a sacrifice fly to center.
San Jose though came back with two runs in the top of the second on Winn's round-tripper. A single from Quinn started the inning before Winn stepped to the plate with one out and launched an opposite-field two-run homer to right center. The home run, Winn's seventh of the season, put the Giants in front by a 2-1 margin.
The San Jose lead, however, would be short-lived as Stockton answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second. Dairon Blanco led off with a triple down the right field line before Menez fanned Will Toffey for the first out of the inning. Luke Persico followed with a slow grounder to third that Kelvin Beltre fielded, but was unable to tag out Blanco as the runner scrambled back safely to third. Persico reached first on the fielder's choice. Kevin Merrell then grounded a single through the hole on the right side to bring home Blanco with the tying run. Two batters later, Powell delivered a two-out single into right plating Persico for a 3-2 Ports lead.
Stockton extended their lead to 5-2 with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. With reliever Connor Overton (2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) on the mound, Jonah Heim walked to leadoff before Blanco belted his second triple of the game - a ringing line drive to deep center - to score the first run of the inning. Two batters later, Persico lifted a sacrifice fly to center bringing home Blanco to stretch the Ports lead to three runs.
The Giants rallied late scratching across one run in the top of the eighth to pull within 5-3. Brandon Van Horn led off with a single before Miller singled with one out. Then with two outs, Jacob Heyward singled sharply into left center to score Van Horn. However with the potential tying runs on base, new pitcher Sam Sheehan induced Quinn to groundout to retire the side.
Still down 5-3, San Jose kept the pressure on in the top of the ninth. Sandro Fabian drew a leadoff walk before pinch-hitter Wander Franco singled to left with one out. Van Horn was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Andrew Tomasovich was summoned from the bullpen to replace Sheehan, but he promptly allowed a single to left off the bat of Bryce Johnson. The hit scored Fabian to make it 5-4 as the bases remained loaded. Miller though followed with a shallow fly out to right for the second out before Gio Brusa popped out to shortstop ending the game.
Parker Dunshee (6-2) earned the win for Stockton after pitching 6 2/3 innings with three runs (all earned) allowed. Dunshee, who at one point during his outing retired 12 straight hitters, surrendered six hits, walked one and struck out nine. Tomasovich notched his second save of the year.
Menez (2-5) was charged with three runs (all earned) on three hits over five innings to take the loss. The left-hander walked three and struck out two. Menez did not allow a hit over his final three innings of work.
* Stockton's (40-24) win eliminated the Giants and Visalia Rawhide from first half North Division title contention. The Ports had last won a first half title in 2003.
* San Jose suffered their fourth straight loss to Stockton (5-6 overall versus the Ports in 2018).
* Winn's seven home runs are tied for second-most on the Giants (Brusa leads with 10 HR).
* Quinn (10 games) and Miller (7 games) both extended hitting streaks.
* San Jose fell to 11-14 in one-run games. San Jose has lost their last five one-run games.
The Giants and Ports continue their four-game series on Tuesday evening with first pitch at Banner Island Ballpark scheduled for 7:10 PM. Raffi Vizcaino (3-3, 5.11 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Stockton is expected to counter with Brian Howard (6-3, 2.56 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 6:50 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.