SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The Stockton Ports amassed a 9-0 lead and survived a middle-innings scare on Wednesday night to open a five-game series at San Manuel Stadium. The Ports scored nine runs over the first four frames and survived the Inland Empire 66ers sending the possible-tying run to the plate in the sixth as the Boys of Banner Island earned a 9-5 victory, their Minor League Baseball-leading 27th of the season.
Stockton had its first run home after two pitches thrown in the game as Brallan Perez hit the first pitch of the game into left-center field for a leadoff triple and scored on an ensuing single on the next pitch by Luis Barrera to give the Ports a 1-0 lead.
66ers starter Erik Manoah (1-7) would not survive the second as he gave up a single and a double to open the frame and then yielded a two-run single to Sandber Pimentel that made it 3-0. Trace Loehr followed with a single and, two batters later, Perez delivered an RBI single to right field. After an RBI groundout by Barrera and an infield single by Nate Mondou, Manoah was lifted for Marc Brakeman who finished the inning.
Manoah would suffer the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits over an inning-and-two-thirds.
Brakeman, after pitching a scoreless third, would give up three more runs in the fourth. Perez doubled to open the inning and Barrera reached on a strikeout-wild pitch. With two aboard, Mondou delivered an RBI single to left to make it 7-0. Two batters later, Dairon Blanco grounded out to drive in a second run and Luke Persico followed with a sac-fly to center to make it a 9-0 contest.
Brakeman would allow three runs on four hits over two-and-a-third innings of work.
Ports starter Xavier Altamirano (3-0) would keep the 66ers out of the run column over the first three innings. In the fourth, however, with two on and two out, Altamirano would give up a two-run double to David MacKinnon that put the 66ers on the board.
In the fifth, Altamirano hit Jahmai Jones to open the frame and then gave up a two-run homer to Jo Adell that cut the Ports lead to 9-4.
Altamirano worked into the sixth and, with one out, gave up three straight singles that loaded the bases. Brendan Butler was then summoned from the bullpen and threw a wild pitch that brought in a run to make it 9-5. Butler, though, would strike out Jones, walk Adell to load the bases and then get Brandon Marsh, the possible-tying run, to ground out to end the final 66ers threat of the night.
Altamirano would pick up his third straight victory, going 5.1 innings and allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out three. Butler would work two-thirds of an inning and extinguish the sixth-inning 66ers rally.
Trey Cochran-Gill, Sam Sheehan and Angel Duno would each toss a scoreless inning down the stretch to close out the game for Stockton. Ports relievers held Inland Empire scoreless over the final 3.2 innings.
Perez, who went 3-for-5 in the contest, fell a home run shy of the cycle for a second straight night.
The Ports and 66ers play the second game of their five-game series on Thursday night at San Manuel Stadium. Left-hander Evan Manarino (1-2, 3.60 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Inland Empire right-hander Matt Ball (1-1, 2.63 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.