SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - For the first time this season the Stockton Ports have dropped four consecutive games. After taking the opener of a five-game series with the Inland Empire 66ers on Wednesday, the Ports dropped their fourth straight to the 66ers to close out the series on Sunday night at San Manuel Stadium as Inland Empire earned an 8-5 win over Stockton.
The Ports tagged Jim Johnson, who started the game for Inland Empire on a Major League rehab assignment, for a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning on RBI doubles by Nate Mondou and Luke Persico. It was the first of three doubles on the night for Mondou and the first of two for Persico as Stockton grabbed a 2-0 lead.
Inland Empire enjoyed its biggest inning of the night in the bottom of the first facing Ports starter Dustin Hurlbutt (3-4). Hurlbutt hit Joe Adell to start the inning and then walked Brandon Marsh before giving up an RBI double to Jordan Zimmerman that cut the Ports lead to 2-1. After David MacKinnon walked to load the bases, Connor Justus hit a grand slam to left to give the 66ers a 5-2 lead. It was Justus' third home run of the series and his second in as many games.
The Stockton offense picked up Hurlbutt in the top of the third as they scored three runs to tie the game on a two-run double by Mondou and an RBI double by Persico. Those were the only three runs allowed by 66ers left-hander Nate Bertness (2-7), who pitched four innings following Johnson's rehab start. Bertness would pick up the win as he allowed five hits and struck out six.
Stockton's offense could not come up with a run the remainder of the game despite leadoff doubles in the fourth and fifth innings. The Ports finished the game having gone 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
Hurlbutt worked into the third inning and after a hit batter, single and a walk, found himself in another bases-loaded jam. Hurlbutt would surrender a sac-fly to Franklin Navarro that gave the 66ers a 6-5 lead and would be lifted with two outs in the inning. Hurlbutt suffered the loss after allowing six runs on five hits over two-and-two-thirds innings worked.
Brendan Butler took over for Hurlbutt and gave up a run in the fourth when, with the bases loaded and two outs, Alberto Triunfel reached on an infield single to make it a 7-5 game. It was the only run allowed by Butler in one inning of work.
Will Gilbert took over for Butler and worked into the fifth inning where two errors led to an unearned run that stretched the 66ers lead to 8-5. Gilbert worked two-and-a-third innings.
Andrew Tomasovich pitched the final two innings for Stockton and did not allow a run.
Marc Brakeman and Brett Hanewich (SV, 1) each pitched two scoreless innings down the stretch for Inland Empire. Hanewich, who retired the final four batters he faced, picked up his first save of the season.
After dropping four of five in San Bernardino, the Ports return home to begin a four-game series with the San Jose Giants. Xavier Altamirano (3-0, 6.00 ERA) starts the series opener for the Ports, opposed by Giants left-hander Domenic Mazza (1-1, 3.52 ERA). First pitch at Banner Island Ballpark 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.