STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Ports collected a season-high 17 strikeouts on Saturday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Oakland A's top prospect Jesus Luzardo threw three near-perfect innings while striking out seven and the Stockton offense exploded for four runs in the seventh on their way to a 5-0 win over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, their ninth shutout victory of the season.
Luzardo dazzled early for Stockton, setting down nine of the 10 batters he faced with only a fielding error depriving him of a perfect outing. Luzardo worked three innings and struck out seven, including the final five batters he faced. He threw 43 pitches, 26 for strikes.
Stockton's offense couldn't get to Quakes starter Wills Montgomerie in his 2 1/3 innings of work. Montgomerie allowed two hits while striking out five. Austin Hamilton (5-3) came on in relief midway through the third and would allow the first run of the game in the fifth. With runners at second and third and one out, Alfonso Rivas delivered a sac-fly to center to break the ice and give Stockton a 1-0 lead.
Hamilton suffered the loss, allowing one run on five hits over 3 1/3 innings of work.
Michael Danielak (3-0) took over for Luzardo to begin the fourth and would work 2 1/3 innings, leaving with one on and one out in the sixth as he was lifted for Ty Damron. Damron would issue a walk and then allow a single that loaded the bases with one out. On a 3-2 pitch to Hunter Feduccia, Damron would induce an inning-ending 4-6-3 double-play to preserve the slim Stockton lead.
Danielak would pick up the victory, going 2 1/3 scoreless frames while striking out five. Damron did not allow a run over 1 2/3 scoreless frames.
The Ports broke the game open in the seventh facing Quakes reliever Connor Strain, who hit a batter and then issued back-to-back walks to open the inning. Jonah Bride delivered a two-run single to left that made it a 3-0 Stockton lead. Later in the inning, Jordan Devencenzi and Yhoelnys Gonzalez hit back-to-back RBI singles with two outs to run the lead to 5-0. Strain allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Will Gilbert came on to start the eighth and went on to work two scoreless frames while striking out four to seal the victory for Stockton.
The Ports and Quakes play the rubber game of their series on Sunday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Xavier Altamirano (5-8, 4.57 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Rancho Cucamonga right-hander Michael Grove (0-5, 6.47 ERA). First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.