SAN JOSE, CA - Four Visalia pitchers combined on a four-hitter as the Rawhide cruised to a 5-1 victory over the San Jose Giants on Thursday afternoon at Municipal Stadium. Visalia scored four runs over the first two innings to build an early 4-0 lead and never looked back en route to the win. With the defeat, San Jose (7-7) drops three out of four games in the series.
Jalen Miller (2-for-3, 2B) had two of the Giants' four hits in Thursday's loss. San Jose's only run of the contest came on a Michael Morse RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. At one point in the game, 16 out of 17 Giants hitters were retired by Rawhide pitching.
Visalia starter Jose Almonte (1-0) notched the win after tossing five scoreless innings with just two hits allowed. Almonte walked one and struck out six during his dominant pitching performance.
The Rawhide jumped out early against San Jose starter Jake McCasland scoring three times in the top of the first inning. Back-to-back one-out singles from Sergio Alcantara and Colin Bray put runners on first and second. Austin Byler then lined an 0-2 pitch from McCasland into shallow center for a single plating Alcantara with the first run of the day. Following a strikeout of Grant Heyman, Bray and Byler successfully executed a double steal to put runners on second and third. Matt Jones then took an 0-2 offering from McCasland and blooped a single into shallow left. The hit scored both Bray and Byler for a 3-0 Visalia advantage.
The Rawhide then added to their lead with a run in the second against McCasland. Zach Nehrir singled to start the frame before he was forced out at second on Galli Cribbs' fielder's choice grounder. Fernery Ozuna then grounded out advancing Cribbs to second before Alcantara delivered a two-out RBI single to make it 4-0.
Visalia pushed their lead to 5-0 when Jones led off the top of the fourth with a solo home run to left center.
Meanwhile, Almonte cruised through his five innings on the mound as the Rawhide maintained their advantage. San Jose's only hits against the right-hander were both off the bat of Miller - a leadoff double in the bottom of the first and a single in the third. The Giants threatened in the bottom of the third putting runners on first and second with one out, but Almonte induced Bryan Reynolds to ground into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
After Almonte tossed 1-2-3 fourth and fifth innings, reliever Miguel Aguilar entered from the Visalia bullpen to begin the bottom of the sixth. Daniel Carbonell greeted the new pitcher with a double to deep left, but was stranded at second base as Miller flied out before Reynolds and Mac Williamson both struck out. Aguliar then needed only nine pitches to breeze through a perfect bottom of the seventh.
In the eighth, Kirby Bellow set down San Jose in order as Visalia continued to lead by a 5-0 margin. Finally, the Giants would breakthrough in the bottom of the ninth facing reliever Cody Clark. A walk to Miller started the inning before Williamson drew a one-out walk. Morse then stepped to the plate and lined a single into center to bring home Miller cutting the Rawhide lead to 5-1. However with the potential tying run in the on-deck circle, Clark settled down inducing Connor Sabanosh to groundout before Ryan Howard flied out ending the game.
McCasland (0-1) suffered the loss after yielding five runs (all earned) on nine hits over five innings. He struck out four and did not issue a walk.
Bryan Morris (1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO) and Carlos Diaz (2 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO) combined to throw four hitless innings of relief for the Giants.
* San Jose has lost three games in a row for the first time this season.
* The Giants scored only four runs over the final three games of the series - all losses. San Jose had gone 16 consecutive innings without scoring a run until the bottom of the ninth on Thursday.
* The Rawhide out-hit the Giants 9-4. San Jose was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
* Morse is 2-for-9 (.222) with two singles and an RBI in three games with the Giants this week on his rehab assignment.
* Williamson finished 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts on Thursday. He was playing in the second game of his rehab assignment (1-for-6).
* Miller has five hits in his last eight at-bats.
* Morris has worked 2 2/3 hitless innings of relief over two rehab appearances out of the San Jose bullpen.
* Thursday's start time was 11:30 AM - one of three games this season for the Giants that will begin in the morning.
The Giants next embark on a seven-game road trip to Stockton (three games) and Rancho Cucamonga (four games). Friday's series opener against the Ports is scheduled to begin at 7:10 PM. Conner Menez (1-0, 2.31 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Stockton is expected to counter with Angel Duno (2-0, 2.25 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.