STOCKTON, CA - Stockton's Nate Mondou hit a tiebreaking two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Ports to a 6-5 victory over the San Jose Giants on Sunday evening at Banner Island Ballpark. San Jose overcame an early 4-0 deficit in the contest and took a 5-4 lead on Bryan Reynolds' three-run homer in the top of the fifth only to see Stockton ultimately move back in front en route to the win. The Giants (62-77) have now dropped two out of the first three games in the series. San Jose's season concludes on Monday night in Stockton.
Reynolds (3-for-4, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI) doubled twice, in addition to his home run, to lead the Giants offensively in defeat. Ryan Howard (2-for-3) also contributed a pair of hits while Gio Brusa (1-for-4, HR, RBI) smacked his 17th home run of the season.
The Ports jumped out early in the back-and-forth game with a four-run bottom of the first inning against San Jose starter Grant Watson. Branden Cogswell started the rally for Stockton with a one-out triple off the fence in deep left center. Skye Bolt then singled home Cogswell with the first run of the frame. Seth Brown was up next and he launched his league-leading 30th home run of the season - a two-run shot to right - for a 3-0 Ports advantage. Mikey White then stepped to the plate and also homered to make it 4-0.
The Giants immediately got one run back in the top of the second as Brusa crushed a solo home run to right. The score then remained at 4-1 until San Jose rallied for their own four-run frame in the top of the fifth. Back-to-back singles from Ronnie Jebavy and Matt Pare began the inning before a successful double steal with one out. Cristian Paulino then brought home Jebavy with a groundout to make it 4-2. After Howard was hit by a pitch, Reynolds belted a three-run home run to deep left center. The homer was Reynolds' 10th of the season and it gave the Giants their first lead of the night at 5-4.
Watson settled down after his early struggles and allowed just one hit for the remainder of his start until he was pulled with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Heath Slatton recorded the final out of the fifth, but then surrendered the tying run in the bottom of the sixth. White was hit by a pitch to start the inning before a Brett Siddall walk put runners on first and second. Argenis Raga was up next and he grounded a single through the hole on the left side plating White to tie the game 5-5. Slatton though prevented further damage in the inning when he struck out Chris Iriart, retired Mondou on a fly out and struck out Eli White to retire the side.
With the score still tied, San Jose loaded the bases with none out in the top of the eighth, but were unable to reclaim the lead. Howard led off with a single before a Reynolds double into the right center field gap put runners on second and third. Dobson followed by drawing a walk to load the bases, but Stockton reliever Kyle Friedrichs induced Brusa to pop out to third before consecutive swinging strikeouts of Heath Quinn and Jebavy ended the inning.
The Ports then took back the lead with a run in the bottom of the eighth. Will LaMarche, who struck out the side in a scoreless bottom of the seventh, fanned the first two batters of the eighth for the Giants. Pinch-hitter Sandber Pimentel though drew a walk before pinch-runner Luis Barrera stole second. Mondou then lined a single into center to easily score Barrera from second to put Stockton ahead by a 6-5 margin.
Ports closer Nolan Blackwood then tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to seal the Stockton victory.
Friedrichs (2-2) earned the win after working 3 1/3 innings of long relief with one run allowed and four strikeouts. Blackwood collected his 19th save of the year.
LaMarche (4-2) was saddled with the loss after yielding the game-deciding run in the bottom of the eighth. LaMarche struck out five batters in his two innings of work.
* Stockton's win combined with Visalia's loss at Modesto on Sunday clinched a playoff spot for the Ports. Stockton will play Modesto in the best-of-five North Division Series beginning on Wednesday.
* The Giants suffered their 21st one-run loss of the season. San Jose is 15-21 in one-run games.
* Brusa has hit five home runs in his last six games. His 17 homers are tied with Aramis Garcia for the team lead.
* With three hits on Sunday, Reynolds raised his season batting average to .312 - fifth in the California League.
* Both teams finished with nine hits. The Giants were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
* San Jose pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.
* Watson was charged with four runs (all earned) on six hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six. Watson will finish the season with a 3.96 ERA.
* Jebavy stole his team-leading 15th base of the year. He is 15-for-15 in stolen base attempts.
* Paulino's (0-for-5, RBI) hitting streak was snapped at eight games.
* At 32-37 in the second half, the Giants are two games behind Stockton (34-35) and Modesto (34-35) with one game remaining in the regular season.
The Giants close out the 2017 season on Monday evening with the finale of their four-game series against Stockton. First pitch at Banner Island Ballpark is scheduled for 6:10 PM. Garrett Williams (2-1, 1.55 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose. 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.