STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Ports exploded for a five-run eighth inning and then held off the Visalia Rawhide in a tense ninth on Tuesday night at Banner Island Ballpark. After the Rawhide broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth, the Ports scored five times in the bottom of the eighth and survived a late Visalia push as they held on for a 6-5 win in the rubber game of their series.
For most of the game both teams' only offense came in the form of a solo home run. After Ports starter Mitchell Jordan set down his first five batters of the ballgame, he gave up a solo home run to Camden Duzenack that gave the Rawhide a 1-0 lead. After issuing a walk next, Jordan would set down the next 10 consecutive hitters and 13 of his final 14 to complete his outing. He did not factor into the decision, allowing just the one run on two hits while striking out four.
After missed opportunities in the first and second, the Ports tied it in the bottom of the third as Ryan Gridley led off with a solo home run to knot the game at 1-1. It was the lone run allowed by Rawhide starter Shumpei Yoshikawa, who worked around seven hits allowed over 4 2/3 innings while striking out six and not factoring into the decision.
Oakland A's right-hander Jharel Cotton (1-1) took over in the seventh for Stockton on a rehab assignment and set the side down in order in his first inning. In the eighth, Cotton issued a leadoff walk to Alex King. King would score with two outs in the inning on an RBI double by Jancarlos Cintron that gave Visalia a 2-1 lead.
Cotton would pick up the victory by game's end and allowed one run on one hit while walking one and striking out one in his two innings. He threw 31 pitches, 20 for strikes.
After 2 1/3 scoreless frames worked by Jayson McKinley, Cole Bartlett (5-4) took over in the eighth and would see the Ports load the bases on two singles and a walk. With the bases loaded and one out, Mickey McDonald hit a ground ball to the shallow-playing second baseman L.T. Tolbert. Tolbert fielded the ball and threw high to home plate, allowing Lazaro Armenteros to score and tie the game at 2-2. Gridley followed with an RBI single, Alfonso Rivas came up next and hit a two-run double to right-center and Jeremy Eierman added an RBI groundout to make it a 6-2 Stockton lead.
Bartlett would suffer the loss, allowing five runs (three earned) on four hits in his lone inning of work.
Eric Marinez (SV, 1) took over for Cotton in the ninth inning and, after retiring his first batters, gave up a walk followed by a double to Eduardo Diaz. Duzenack came up with two on and delivered his second home run of the game, a three-run blast to left that brought the Rawhide to within a run at 6-5. Marinez, though, would rebound with back-to-back strikeouts to end the ballgame and earn his first California League save.
The Ports embark on a six-game road trip on Wednesday, beginning with a three-game series with the Lancaster JetHawks. Xavier Altamirano (3-5, 4.72 ERA) makes the start in the series opener for Stockton, opposed by Lancaster left-hander Lucas Gilbreath (3-6, 5.99 ERA). First pitch at The Hangar is set for 6:35 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.