STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Ports opened a six-game homestand the same way the closed out a seven-game road trip; with a 5-4 victory. The Ports scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on Tuesday night that proved to be the difference in a 5-4 win over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at Banner Island Ballpark. Coupled with losses by the San Jose Giants and Visalia Rawhide, the victory gives the Ports a two-game lead for first place in the North Division.
The Quakes opened the scoring in the top of the second. With two on and two out, Cody Thomas tripled to the wall in left field to give the Quakes a 2-0 lead. Stockton answered with a triple of its own in the bottom of the second. After a walk and a fielding error on a potential double-play ball opened the inning, Luis Barrera made the Quakes pay with a triple to the right-center field gap to tie the game at 2-2.
The Ports grabbed the lead in the bottom of the third when Nate Mondou hit a solo homer to right field to make it a 3-2 ballgame. It was the final run allowed by Quakes starter Tony Gonsolin, who did not factor into the decision after going 4.2 innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits while striking out a season-high seven.
Stockton starter Matt Milburn worked around back-to-back singles that opened the fourth inning and, beginning with the first out in the fourth, set down 10 consecutive batters to get one out deep in the seventh. Facing Donovan Casey, Milburn surrendered a solo home run to right field that tied the game at 3-3. Milburn would also be rendered a no-decision. Going 6.1 innings and allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out a season-high seven.
Jason Richman (1-4), who took over for Gonsolin in the fifth, pitched into the eighth and after a walk and two singles, would be lifted with the bases loaded and one out in favor of Zach Pop, who made his California League debut. Pop would give up an infield RBI single to Luke Persico that scored Skye Bolt and gave Stockton a 4-3 lead. Barrera followed with a sac-fly to left that scored Jonah Heim and made it a 5-3 advantage.
Richman would suffer the loss, going 2.2 innings and allowing two runs on four hits while striking out three.
Boomer Biegalski (3-0), who took over for Milburn in the seventh, retired all five batters he faced, including four consecutive strikeouts to open his outing. Biegalski would pick up the win in the contest.
Angel Duno (SV, 4) came on to pitch the night and allowed a single and a double that put runners at second and third with nobody out. After Duno got Logan Landon to pop out to Mondou at second base, he got Casey to ground out to the shortstop which produced a run and made it a 5-4 game. With the possible-tying run at third base, Duno got Thomas to ground out to short to end the ballgame and notch his fourth save of the season.
The Ports and Quakes play the middle game of their three-game series on Wednesday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Left-hander Zack Erwin (2-2, 4.13 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Rancho Cucamonga right-hander and Stockton native Dean Kremer (1-2, 4.79 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.