STOCKTON, CA - Jalen Miller hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the top of the ninth inning to lift the San Jose Giants to a 3-2 win over the Stockton Ports on Saturday evening at Banner Island Ballpark. The victory evened the series at a game apiece as the Giants (51-68 overall, 17-32 second half) won for the third time in their last four contests overall.
Heath Quinn (3-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) smacked a two-run home run as part of a three-hit night while Miller (2-for-3, RBI) contributed a pair of singles, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose offensively.
Giants starter Domenic Mazza fired six strong innings with just one run allowed. Mazza scattered nine hits, walked one and struck out a season-high six batters during his outing.
Nolan Riggs (5-5) picked-up the win out of the bullpen despite allowing the tying run to score in the bottom of the seventh. Riggs though recovered to keep the Ports off the board in the bottom of the eighth to keep the game even before San Jose reclaimed the lead in the top of the ninth. Frank Rubio then worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to collect the save.
The Giants jumped out early on Saturday scoring twice in the top of the first against Stockton starter Zack Erwin. Bryce Johnson drew a nine-pitch walk to start the game before moving to second on a Miller sacrifice bunt. Quinn was up next and he launched an opposite field two-run home run to right for a 2-0 San Jose advantage. The homer was Quinn's 12th of the season.
The Ports produced five straight singles in the bottom of the second against Mazza, but scored only one run during the inning. With one out, Brett Siddall singled before a Santiago Chavez single put runners on first and second. Eric Marinez then singled into shallow left, but left fielder Johneshwy Fargas threw out Siddall at home on the play for the second out of the inning. Stockton though would still plate a run in the inning as Cobie Vance followed with an RBI single into shallow right as Chavez came home to make it 2-1. Chase Calabuig then beat out a slow roller up the first base line for another hit - the fifth straight single - to load the bases. Mazza, however, came back to strikeout Viosergy Rosa to end the inning and keep the Giants ahead by a run.
The game would then remain at 2-1 all the way until the seventh inning. San Jose threatened in the top of the fifth as Miller and Quinn each singled with one out before a two-out passed ball advanced the runners to second and third. Wander Franco though grounded out to end the inning. Then in the seventh, Miller singled with one out before a Quinn double to deep center again put runners on second and third, but Gio Brusa struck out swinging and Franco grounded out to strand the two runners in scoring position.
Meanwhile, Mazza held Stockton down for the remainder of his start. The left-hander worked around a Luke Persico two-out double in the bottom of the fifth and a two-out walk in the sixth.
Riggs (2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO) was then summoned from the bullpen to begin the bottom of the seventh with the Giants still ahead by a run. Vance greeted Riggs with a leadoff single before a Calabuig sacrifice bunt advanced the tying run to second. Riggs struck out Rosa, but Persico followed with a grounder that deflected off Riggs and bounced into shallow left for a single. The hit easily scored Vance from second to tie the game 2-2. Persico, the potential go-ahead run, then stole second, but was left there when Riggs struck out Edwin Diaz.
San Jose was retired in order in the top of the eighth before Riggs pitched around a Siddall one-out single in the bottom of the inning. The Giants then went back in front with a run in the top of the ninth. Tanner Murphy led off the inning with a line drive single into left center. Johnson followed with a bunt that Ports reliever Will Gilbert fielded, but threw wildly to first. As the ball rolled down the right field line, Murphy advanced to third while Johnson was safe at first on the error. Miller then hit a soft liner up the middle that deflected off the glove of the diving second baseman Trace Loehr for a single as pinch-runner Jacob Heyward scored from third to give San Jose a 3-2 lead.
Rubio (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) then made quick work of Stockton in the bottom of the ninth as Vance and Calabuig both flied out to center before Rosa struck out swinging to end the game. Rubio notched his eighth save with the Giants.
Gilbert (4-3) suffered the loss for the Ports after yielding the game-deciding run in the top of the ninth.
* The Giants played their league-leading 40th one-run game of the season (18-22 record).
* With three hits on Saturday, Quinn increased his team-leading batting average to .305.
* Stockton out-hit San Jose 12-11.
* Mazza's six innings pitched matched the longest start of his season.
* The Giants won a game that was started by an opposing left-handed pitcher for the first time since June 25 (0-11 record previous 11 games).
* Rubio is 8-for-9 in save opportunities with San Jose.
* The Giants won for just the third time in their last 12 road games.
The Giants and Ports play the rubber game of their three-game series on Sunday evening with first pitch at Banner Island Ballpark scheduled for 6:10 PM. Carlos Sano (3-3, 3.62 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Stockton is expected to counter with Kyle Friedrichs (1-2, 4.61 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 5:50 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.