SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Stockton Ports had a monster first inning facing Jeff Samardzija on a Major League rehab assignment for the San Jose Giants. The Giants, however, had the last laugh at Municipal Stadium on Saturday night. San Jose erased a six-run deficit, tying the game in the bottom of the ninth down to its final out on a lost pop-fly and winning the game down to its final out in the 11th on a two-run homer by Jalen Miller to earn an improbable 8-7 win over Stockton.
Samardzija set the first two batters down in the first inning before seeing six straight men reach base. Greg Deichmann singled to right and Dairon Blanco followed with an infield single that was fielded by Samardzija, who made an errant throw to first. Right fielder Sandro Fabian retrieved the loose ball and made an errant throw home that allowed Deichmann to score and give the Ports a 1-0 lead. Wil Toffey followed with a double to straight away center that scored Blanco to make it 2-0. After Edwin Diaz and Luis Barrera worked back-to-back walks, Nate Mondou delivered Stockton's first grand slam of the season out to right field to give the Ports a 6-0 advantage.
Samardzija threw 35 pitches in the first inning but went on to retire six of the final seven batters he faced including five strikeouts in that span. He allowed six runs on five hits while walking two and striking out five, throwing 61 pitches, 41 for strikes.
San Jose got its first run back in the bottom of the first as Miller walked with one out and scored on a two-out RBI single by Jacob Heyward. Ports starter Matt Milburn kept the Giants out of the run column over the next two innings but gave up a solo homer to Heyward in the fourth that cut the Ports lead to 6-2.
Milburn worked into the fifth and gave up a leadoff single to Matt Winn followed by a walk to Brandon Van Horn. After recording back-to-back strikeouts, Milburn faced Frandy De La Rosa who hit a low line drive to right field. Deichmann made a sliding attempt to catch the ball but came up short. Deichmann then tried to throw the ball back to the infield and made an errant throw toward the right field line, allowing two runs to score and cutting the Ports lead to 6-4. Milburn was then lifted for Angel Duno, who surrendered an RBI double to Gio Brusa that brought San Jose to within a run at 6-5.
Milburn would not factor into the decision, going 4.2 innings and allowing five runs on six hits while walking three and striking out five. Duno would work 2.1 scoreless innings and allow one hit while striking out two.
San Jose pitching, beginning in the second inning, would work nine consecutive scoreless frames. Samardzija pitched a scoreless second and turned the ball over to Carlos Diaz with one out in the third with Diaz going on to work an inning-and-a-third scoreless. Raffi Vizcaino would take over in the fifth and work four scoreless frames, pitching around a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and back-to-back one-out singles in the seventh to keep the San Jose deficit one run.
Sam Sheehan took over in the eighth for Stockton and worked around two walks and a hit batsman to keep the Giants out of the run column in the eighth. In the ninth, Sheehan gave up a leadoff single to Bryce Johnson in the ninth. Johnson would wind up at second base with two outs and Brusa at the plate. With the overshift on to the right side of the infield, Brusa hit a pop-fly back of the shortstop position. Ports shortstop Kevin Merrell, playing the overshift, had to move a long distance to his right and was never able to get camped underneath the ball. Merrell would miss the pop-fly, a play scored a single that allowed Johnson to cross home plate with the tying run to make it a 6-6 contest.
The Ports would push the go-ahead run across in the top of the 11th. With Mondou at third base and one out, Merrell delivered a bunt-single to the right side of the infield that gave the Ports a 7-6 advantage.
San Jose would have the answer once again in the bottom of the 11th down to its final out. With one on and two out, Miller, facing Ports reliever Miguel Romero (0-1), hit a two-run homer over the left field fence that gave the Giants an 8-7 walk-off victory. Romero suffered the loss while Dylan Rheault (1-1) picked up the win despite allowing the go-ahead run to score in the top of the 11th.
The Ports and Giants play the final game of their four-game set on Sunday afternoon at Municipal Stadium. Left-hander Zack Erwin (1-0, 0.00 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by San Jose right-hander Melvin Adon (0-1, 6.00 ERA). First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.