VISALIA, CA - Dillon Dobson homered as part of a four-RBI night and Matt Solter tossed seven effective innings in his California League debut to lead the San Jose Giants to a 5-2 victory over the Visalia Rawhide on Thursday evening at Recreation Park. With the win, San Jose (16-25) avoided the series sweep and snapped their season-high six-game losing streak.
Dobson (1-for-4, HR, 4 RBI) hit a three-run home run in the top of the fourth inning to give the Giants the lead before adding a sacrifice fly later in the contest. Bryan Reynolds (3-for-4) added three singles for San Jose while San Francisco Giant Aaron Hill (0-for-1, 2 BB, HBP) scored three runs in the third game of his rehabilitation assignment.
Solter (1-0) scattered seven hits and allowed just one run over his masterful seven-inning start to pick-up the win. The right-hander, who joined the Giants from Augusta (A), walked one and struck out four. Ryan Halstead escaped a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth to close out the victory.
Visalia's only run against Solter came in the bottom of the first as the Rawhide jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. Matt McPhearson started the inning with a single before Sergio Alcantara struck out. McPhearson then stole second before Solter walked Austin Byler to put a second runner on base. Marty Herum was up next and during his at-bat the Rawhide attempted to execute a double steal. McPhearson made it into third base safely on the play, but San Jose catcher Matt Winn threw out Byler at second for the second out of the inning. Visalia though would still manage to score in the inning as moments later, Herum lined an RBI single into right for a 1-0 Rawhide advantage.
Visalia starting pitcher Bo Takahashi began his night with three scoreless innings retiring nine out of the first ten Giants hitters of the game. San Jose though would breakthrough against Takahashi in the fourth. Hill was hit by a pitch to begin the inning before Reynolds lined a single into right. Aramis Garcia followed with a line out to left, but Dobson then stepped to the plate and launched a towering three-run home run to right. The homer, Dobson's sixth of the season, gave the Giants their first lead of the series at 3-1.
Meanwhile, Solter settled down after the first and had retired eight consecutive Rawhide hitters until Grant Heyman led off the bottom of the fifth with a single. BJ Lopez followed with another single to put runners on first and second, but Solter pitched out of trouble inducing Galli Cribbs to fly out before McPhearson grounded into an inning-ending double play.
San Jose then pushed across a run in the top of the sixth to extend their lead to 4-1. Hill drew a leadoff walk before Reynolds singled and then Garcia walked to load the bases with none out. Dobson followed with a sacrifice fly to center - his fourth RBI of the night - to make it 4-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Byler doubled with one out, but Solter quickly retired the next two hitters to end the inning. Solter then finished his night with a scoreless bottom of the seventh pitching around a one-out single to keep the margin at 4-1. The inning ended with a Lopez grounding into a 1-6-3 double play.
The Giants scored their fifth and final run of the evening in the top of the eighth. Hill again started a run-scoring rally by reaching base as he drew another leadoff walk. Reynolds followed with his third single of the game before Garcia smashed a grounder to third that was misplayed by Herum for an error. The miscue allowed Hill to score from second to stretch the lead to 5-1.
Caleb Simpson (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) worked a scoreless bottom of the eighth for San Jose yielding one hit and collecting one strikeout. Halstead (1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO) then entered from the bullpen to begin the bottom of the ninth with the score still at 5-1. After Herum flied out to start the inning, Francis Christy singled before Henry Castillo laced an RBI double into the left center field gap to bring the Rawhide to within 5-2. Halstead followed with consecutive walks of the next two hitters to load the bases and bring the potential winning run to the plate, but recovered as pinch-hitter Matt Jones flied out to shallow center and McPhearson grounded into a force out to shortstop ending the game.
Takahashi (0-2) suffered the loss after yielding three runs (all earned) on three hits in five innings. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk.
* San Jose won for just the second time in their last 10 games.
* Dobson has homered in back-to-back games. His six homers this season is tied with Garcia for the team lead.
* The Giants are second in the California League with 35 home runs.
* San Jose won despite getting out-hit 10-5.
* Solter had a 3.98 ERA in 31 1/3 innings this season with Augusta before joining the Giants. Thursday's seven-inning performance was his longest start of the year.
* San Jose won for just the third time this season when their opponent scores first (3-21).
* The Giants are still unbeaten this year when leading after six innings (11-0).
* Halstead issued his first walk of the season in 18 2/3 innings.
* Hill is 2-for-8 with two doubles and three walks in three rehab games with San Jose.
* Outfielder Johneshwy Fargas was placed on the 7-day disabled list before the game on Thursday.
The Giants next return to Municipal Stadium for two games against the Modesto Nuts on Friday and Saturday. Friday's series opener is a 7:00 PM first pitch. Matt Krook (0-5, 10.19 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Modesto is expected to counter with Anthony Misiewicz (1-2, 4.87 ERA). It's Water Awareness Night at the ballpark while a spectacular fireworks show presented by San Jose Water Company will follow the game. For tickets, call (408) 297-1435 or visit sjgiants.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.