LAKE ELSINORE, CA - The San Jose Giants scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning for a dramatic come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Sunday evening at The Diamond. Gio Brusa smacked a two-RBI double in the ninth to bring the Giants to within 4-3 before a Storm error with two outs scored the tying and go-ahead runs. The series-opening triumph was San Jose's (40-54 overall, 10-14 second half) first victory this season when trailing after eight innings.
John Polonius (2-for-4, 2B, RBI), Ryan Howard (2-for-5), Heath Quinn (2-for-5) and Ronnie Jebavy (2-for-4) had multi-hit games for the Giants.
Dylan Rheault earned the save with a scoreless bottom of the ninth stranding the potential tying and winning runs on base.
San Jose trailed by a 4-1 margin entering the top of the ninth. Facing Storm closer Colby Blueberg, the inning began with a Matt Winn single into right center. Polonius then stepped to the plate and grounded a single up the middle to move Winn to second. Brusa was then summoned to pinch-hit and he launched a deep fly ball to left center for a double. The hit scored both Winn and Polonius to cut the Lake Elsinore lead to 4-3. Gerardo Reyes was then brought into pitch for Lake Elsinore and he retired Howard on a line out to left for the first out. Bryan Reynolds was up next and he worked a full-count walk to put the potential go-ahead run on base. A wild pitch then advanced the runners to second and third before Reyes struck out Dillon Dobson for the second out. Heath Quinn followed for the Giants and with San Jose down to their last strike, hit a slow grounder to third. Storm third baseman Ruddy Giron fielded the ball, but his throw to first pulled Fernando Perez off the base. Pinch-runner Jalen Miller easily scored the tying run on the error while Reynolds also scored without a throw home to give the Giants a shocking 5-4 lead.
Rheault (1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) was then brought into pitch for the bottom of the ninth, but would immediately run into trouble. Javier Guerra led off with a bunt single before Perez blooped a single into shallow left. However with the potential tying and winning runs at second and first respectively, Rheault induced Austin Allen to fly out to center, retired Edwin Moreno on a line out to right and then struck out Giron to end the game.
Will LaMarche (2-0) was credited with the win out of the San Jose bullpen after tossing a scoreless bottom of the eighth. Rheault earned his 11th save.
Reyes (2-1) was saddled with the loss for the Storm.
The Giants initially enjoyed a 1-0 lead after scoring once in the top of the third. Winn led off the inning by drawing a walk and immediately scored when the next batter, Polonius, doubled down the left field line. However, the tally would be San Jose's only run in the contest until their ninth-inning outburst despite 10 hits over the first eight frames. The Giants had the bases loaded with none out in the top of the fourth and the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the fifth, but failed to score in both innings. The first two San Jose hitters then reached safely in the sixth, but again the Giants were held off the scoreboard. San Jose hit into three double plays and left nine runners on base over the first eight innings.
Lake Elsinore scored all four of their runs in the bottom of the third. Facing San Jose starter Mike Connolly, Taylor Kohlwey led off with a single before Rod Boykin doubled to put runners on second and third with none out. Guerra then reached on an infield single to shortstop plating Kohlwey to tie the game 1-1. Perez followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Storm the lead. Following an Allen single, Moreno laced a triple into the left center field gap scoring two more runs for a 4-1 Lake Elsinore advantage.
Connolly worked five innings in his start yielding four runs (all earned) on a season-high tying 10 hits. He walked one and struck out three.
Heath Slatton (2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) and LaMarche (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) combined for three scoreless innings of relief from the sixth through the eighth before San Jose rallied in the top of the ninth.
* The Giants have won back-to-back games for the first time since June 29-30.
* Entering Sunday, San Jose had been the only team in the California League this season without a victory when trailing after seven and eight innings.
* The Storm out-hit the Giants 15-13.
* The teams were a combined 5-for-27 with runners in scoring position (San Jose 3-for-16, Lake Elsinore 2-for-11).
* Brusa's double was his 18th of the season - one behind Aramis Garcia for the team lead.
* The Giants were playing their first game at The Diamond since April 20, 2016.
The Giants and Storm continue their three-game series on Monday evening with first pitch at The Diamond scheduled for 6:00 PM. Mark Reyes (4-10, 5.91 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Lake Elsinore is expected to counter with Jacob Nix (2-2, 4.10 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 5:40 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.