STOCKTON, Calif. - In a game in which the Inland Empire 66ers had just one hit after the third inning, it was four seventh-inning walks that did in the Stockton Ports on Monday night. With the game tied 4-4 in the seventh, Omar Duran issued back-to-back bases-loaded walks to bring in a pair of runs that made the difference in a 6-4 Ports loss at Banner Island Ballpark.
Raul Alcantara made his first start for Stockton since undergoing Tommy John surgery last April and pitched a scoreless first inning. In the second, however, Alcantara gave up a leadoff single to Kaleb Cowart. Two batters later, Tyler Palmer lined an RBI double to right to give the 66ers a 1-0 lead. Quentin Davis followed with an RBI triple and Juan Moreno came up next and singled to center to make it 3-0. With two outs, Bo Way added an RBI double to right to stretch the 66ers lead to 4-0.
Alcantara would go on to receive a no-decision, going 2.1 innings and allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out one.
Stockton took advantage of a pair of 66ers errors to cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second. With one out, Matt Chapman singled to left. Branden Cogswell followed with a double to right. Davis, the 66ers right fielder, made an errant throw in to second that allowed Chapman to score from third. Second baseman Kody Eaves, trying to get Chapman at the plate, made an errant throw home that allowed Cogswell to take third. Cogswell would score on an ensuing groundout by Beau Taylor to make it a 4-2 contest.
The P orts got a third run off a 66ers error in the third. B.J. Boyd led off with a single and stole second. With Boyd at second base and two out, Michael Soto hit a grounder to third and third baseman Pedro Ruiz threw high to first, allowing Boyd to score and make it a 4-3 game.
Stockton tied the contest in the sixth as J.P. Sportman led off with a triple and scored on an ensuing groundout by Soto. That was the end of the line for 66ers starter Ryan Etsell, who received a no-decision after going 5.1 innings and allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out two.
Lou Trivino (3-4) followed Alcantara into the game as Trivino took over in the third and retired the first eight batters he faced to begin his outing.
With the game tied 4-4 in the seventh, Trivino gave up his first and only hit, a leadoff single to Davis. Moreno followed and drew a walk and a groundout by Ruiz advanced the two into scoring position with one out. Duran was then summoned from the bullpen and, after walking Way to load the bases, he struck out Michael Snyder for the second out. With the bases loaded and two outs, Duran issued back-to-back walks to Eaves and Cowart to bring home two runs and give Inland Empire a 6-4 lead. Corey Walter was brought in to record the final out of the seventh.
The two runs that scored were charged to the ledger of Trivino, who suffered the loss after going four innings and allowing two runs on one hit while walking two.
Walter and Sam Roberts would combine to pitch two-and-a-third perfect innings down the stretch for Stockton.
Cole Swanson (1-1) took over for Etsell midway through the sixth and recorded the final two outs of the sixth inning and would go on to pick up the win.
Michael Smith (SV, 1) took over in the seventh and retired nine of the 10 batters he faced to close out the ballgame and pick up his first save of the season.
The Ports and 66ers play the middle game of their three-game series on Tuesday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Dylan Covey (5-3, 3.25 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Inland Empire right-hander Harrison Cooney (1-3, 4.88 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PDT.