STOCKTON - Elliott Blair hit a tiebreaking solo home run in the top of the 12th inning to propel the San Jose Giants to a 2-1 series-opening victory over the Stockton Ports on Friday evening at Banner Island Ballpark. Five San Jose pitchers combined to limit the Ports to one run on five hits while registering 16 strikeouts as the Giants won their fourth straight game.
Blair (3-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SB), who drove home both of San Jose's runs in the contest, extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Stephen Johnson (5-3) was credited with the win out of the bullpen after tossing a scoreless bottom of the 11th. Tyler Mizenko then struck out the side in the bottom of the 12th to earn his eighth save of the season.
The Giants took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second as Mitch Delfino singled with one out before coming home when Blair grounded a two-out double down the left field line.
Kendry Flores started on the mound for San Jose and held the Ports to one hit - a broken bat bloop single in the bottom of the first - over the first six innings. Trailing by a run, Stockton threatened in the third as Wade Kirkland led off by reaching on a three-base throwing error committed by Delfino at third. Chad Oberacker then walked to put runners on the corners, but Flores induced Daniel Robertson to pop out, struck out Colin Walsh and then retired Matt Olson on a groundout to end the inning.
Flores then retired Stockton 1-2-3 in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to maintain the one-run lead. The Giants starter had set down 12 consecutive hitters until Ryon Healy led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run to deep left center. The home run, Healy's 12th of the season, tied the game 1-1.
Flores surrendered just two hits and one run during his dominant seven-inning performance. The right-hander walked one and struck out eight.
With the score tied, San Jose threatened in the top of the eighth as Jesus Galindo led off with a double down the left field line. After Chuckie Jones struck out, a wild pitch advanced Galindo to third and then Brandon Bednar was intentionally walked. Blake Miller was up next, but he struck out swinging with Bednar thrown out at second on the play attempting to steal to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth, Brian Ragira singled with one out and stole second with two down, but was stranded when Trevor Brown grounded out back to the mound.
Tyler Rogers (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 SO) pitched the eighth and ninth innings out of the Giants bullpen and kept the Ports off the scoreboard in both frames. In the bottom of the ninth, Stockton loaded the bases with one out, but Rogers pitched out of trouble to force extra-innings. A walk to Olson started the frame before Healy bounced a single into left to put runners on first and second. After Ryan Gorton dropped down a sacrifice bunt, Jaycob Brugman was intentionally walked to load the bases. However with the winning run at third, Rogers registered back-to-back looking strikeouts of Bobby Crocker and Kirkland to end the inning.
In the top of the 10th, Ydwin Villegas led off with a single before Galindo's sacrifice bunt attempt was thrown away by Ports reliever Nolan Sanburn. The miscue put runners on first and second with none out, but San Jose failed to score as Jones struck out and Bednar grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Bryce Bandilla (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO) worked the bottom of the 10th and pitched around a two-out walk to keep the game tied 1-1. In the top of the 11th, Miller was hit by a pitch to leadoff, but Delfino struck out and Ragira grounded into a double play. Johnson (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) took the mound in the bottom of the 11th and surrendered a two-out single to Brugman, but recovered to strikeout Crocker to end the inning.
In the top of the 12th, Blair led off by crushing a 2-2 pitch from Rodolfo Fernandez over the fence in left for a go-ahead home run. The home run, Blair's fifth of the year, gave the Giants a 2-1 lead.
Mizenko (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO) then entered in the bottom of the 12th and after striking out Kirkland, surrendered a one-out single to Oberacker. With the tying run on first though, Mizenko struck out both Robertson and Walsh to end the game.
Fernandez (0-1) took the loss after surrendering the game-deciding home run to Blair. Fernandez was charged with one run in 1 2/3 innings. Stockton starter Chris Lamb pitched 6 2/3 innings with one run and three hits allowed. Lamb walked four and struck out five.
Notes: The Giants have won 11 out of their last 14 games … San Jose improved to 4-5 in extra-inning games, including 3-0 against Stockton … Ragira (1-for-5) extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a ninth-inning single … The Giants out-hit the Ports 8-5 … Villegas (2-for-3, 2B) also finished with a multi-hit game for San Jose … The four Giants relievers combined for five scoreless innings with three hits allowed and eight strikeouts … Flores owns a 2.56 ERA in his last five starts with 40 strikeouts and just six walks over 31 2/3 innings … The two teams were a combined 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position (San Jose 0-for-9, Stockton 0-for-6) … The Giants improved to a season-high tying two games above .500 overall (47-45).
On Deck: The Giants and Ports continue their four-game series on Saturday evening with first pitch at Banner Island Ballpark scheduled for 7:05 PM. Joe Kurrasch (7-2, 2.12 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Stockton is expected to counter with Yeiper Castillo (1-1, 8.78 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.