MODESTO, CA - The Giants knocked out 13 hits at the plate and received a dominant start on the mound from Shaun Anderson in a series-opening 6-2 victory over the Modesto Nuts on Friday evening at John Thurman Field. The win was San Jose's ninth in their last 12 games and moved the Giants (24-24) into sole possession of first place in the second half North Division standings - one game ahead of both Modesto (23-25) and Visalia (23-25).
Matt Winn (3-for-5, 2 2B, RBI) and Bryan Reynolds (3-for-5, 2B, RBI) had three hits apiece to lead the San Jose offensive attack. John Polonius (2-for-5) and Jalen Miller (2-for-5, RBI) added two hits each while Heath Quinn (1-for-3, 2 RBI) drove home a pair of runs. The Giants out-hit the Nuts 13-3.
Anderson (2-1) earned the win after limiting Modesto to two singles and one unearned run over 5 2/3 innings. Anderson, who retired 16 out of the 19 batters he faced, walked none and struck out four during his masterful 65-pitch outing.
San Jose used clutch two-out RBI hits to score single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings in building a 3-0 lead. In the top of the third, Polonius led off with a single before taking second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Ryan Howard reached safely on a throwing error committed by Jordan Cowan at third base and then Reynolds lined a single into center plating Polonius with the first run of the night.
In the fourth, Winn led off with a double before Ronnie Jebavy worked a one-out walk. Then with two down, Miller singled sharply into center to score Winn for a 2-0 advantage.
An inning later, Reynolds doubled down the right field line with one out before scoring on a Winn two-out double into the left center field gap extending the lead to 3-0.
Meanwhile, Anderson faced the minimum 12 hitters over four scoreless innings to begin his start. The right-hander struck out two batters in a perfect bottom of the first before cruising through a five-pitch second frame. He then fanned another Nuts batter in a 1-2-3 third inning. With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Eric Filia hit a high pop up into shallow center that was lost in the lights by both Giants middle infielders. Filia reached first safely and was credited with a single, but was thrown out at second trying to advance on the play. Anderson then retired the next hitter, Kyle Lewis, on a fly out to end the inning.
Modesto scored their only run against Anderson in the bottom of the fifth. With the score 3-0, the rally began when Logan Taylor was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Taylor was at second base with two outs when Donnie Walton hit a high chopper over the mound. The second baseman Miller ranged over and attempted to make the play, but the ball deflected off his glove and rolled away. Walton was given a single while Taylor raced around third and scored. Miller was charged with an error allowing Taylor to come home as the Nuts pulled within 3-1.
San Jose though immediately got the run back in the top of the sixth. Miller led off with a single, advanced all the way to third on a wild pickoff throw and scored on a Steven Duggar single to make it 4-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Anderson quickly retired the first two batters before Carlos Diaz entered from the bullpen to record the third out. Diaz (1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) then breezed through a perfect bottom of the seventh to maintain the three-run lead.
Will LaMarche was summoned to begin the bottom of the eighth and surrendered one run as Walton doubled with one out, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Luis Liberato's groundout. The run trimmed the Giants lead to 4-2, but Modesto would get no closer in the contest.
San Jose scored a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth as Reynolds and Jonah Arenado each singled before Winn walked to load the bases with none out. Quinn then stepped to the plate and lined a two-RBI single into left center for a 6-2 cushion.
LaMarche (2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO) then set down the Nuts 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to seal the victory. LaMarche was credited with his second save of the year.
Modesto starter Robert Dugger (1-2) suffered the loss after yielding three runs (two earned) on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out six.
* The Giants are in sole possession of first place in the North Division for the first time since April 18 (7-4 first half record). San Jose was six games out of first in the second half standings as recently as July 24 - 18 days ago.
* The Giants are 12-5 in their last 17 games.
* Anderson lowered his ERA to 2.08 (3 ER/13.0 IP) through three appearances with San Jose. He's allowed only five total hits and has a .128 opponents batting average.
* The Giants were 5-for-21 with runners in scoring position compared to 1-for-3 for the Nuts.
* Arenado (1-for-5) extended his hitting streak to eight games with his ninth-inning single.
* San Jose improved to 9-3 at John Thurman Field this season (14-12 overall versus Modesto).
* LaMarche has picked-up the save in each of his last two appearances (last Sunday versus Inland Empire and Friday night).
* The Giants earned their 30th road win of the season. San Jose (30-28) is one of only two teams in the California League with a winning road record (Modesto 33-27).
* Pitcher Jake McCasland was placed on the 7-day disabled list before the game on Friday. Diaz was activated off the DL.
* 22 games remain in the regular season.
The Giants and Nuts continue their three-game series on Saturday evening with first pitch at John Thurman Field scheduled for 7:05 PM. Conner Menez (6-5, 4.14 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Modesto is expected to counter with Bryan Bonnell (3-2, 3.94 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.