SAN JOSE, Calif. (Press release) - Craig Westcott pitched six effective innings and Brandon Belt drove home a pair of runs to lead the San Jose Giants to a 5-3 victory over the Bakersfield Blaze on Monday evening at Municipal Stadium. Westcott allowed two runs to earn the win as the Giants completed a sweep of the four-game series. The victory was San Jose's sixth in a row and vaulted the Giants into first place in the North Division with a 21-16 record.
Belt (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI) had a pair of run-scoring hits to lead the San Jose offensive attack. Francisco Peguero (2-for-4, 2B), Johnny Monell (2-for-4, RBI) and Jose Flores (2-for-4) also produced multi-hit games at the plate.
Westcott (2-0) surrendered five hits during his stint on the mound in addition to walking two and striking out three. The right-hander won his second consecutive start while his season ERA of 1.30 ranks second in the California League.
Bakersfield initially jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Davis Stoneburner belted a solo homer to left in the top of the first inning, however the Giants responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Peguero lined a single into center field before Belt stepped to the plate and hammered a double off the wall in center to bring home the tying run. After Drew Biery flied out, Monell stepped to the plate and lined a single into left plating Belt for a 2-1 San Jose advantage.
The Giants added to their lead in the bottom of the second as consecutive singles from Flores and Wendell Fairley started the inning before Ehire Adrianza's sacrifice bunt. Juan Perez then grounded out to third base scoring Fairley to make it 3-1.
In the fifth, Peguero started a run-scoring rally with a one-out double before coming home when the next hitter, Belt, lined a single into left center. Biery followed with a line drive that bounced in front of Bakersfield's Engel Beltre and then past the center field and toward the wall. Belt raced home on the play to make it 5-1 while Biery took third for a triple.
Westcott pitched around a leadoff double in the top of the second inning and at one point retired seven in a row until issuing a leadoff walk to Jose Felix in the top of the fifth. In the sixth, Beltre led off with a single before coming home three batters later on Chris Gradoville's fielder's choice ground out. Westcott then struck out Erik Morrison to end the inning and keep the Giants ahead by a 5-2 margin.
Kyle Woodruff (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO) relieved Westcott to begin the seventh and struck out two in his first inning of work before allowing a single run in the eighth. With a runner on first base and one out, Mike Bianucci lined a ball into left center field and when Peguero slipped and fell, Stoneburner managed to score all the way from first to bring the Blaze to within 5-3. Bianucci advanced into third with a triple, but Woodruff recovered setting down the next two hitters to strand the runner.
In the ninth, Jason Stoffel (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO) issued a one-out walk to Felix before Jared Bolden singled to bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate. However, David Paisano struck out on three pitches and Stoneburner grounded out to shortstop on a spectacular diving stop made by Adrianza to end the game. Stoffel was credited with his sixth save of the year.
Bakersfield starter Wilfredo Boscan (2-5) was charged with the loss after yielding five runs (all earned) on 10 hits over six innings of work. Boscan struck out four and walked none.
Notes: The Giants are in first place in the North Division for the first time since April 18 (7-3 record) ... San Jose sat in fourth place at the beginning of the series against Bakersfield four days ago ... The Giants out-hit the Blaze by a 5-3 margin ... San Jose has won four consecutive home games after dropping six in a row at Municipal Stadium ... The Giants are 9-3 against Bakersfield this season ... Perez (0-for-4, RBI) saw his seven-game hitting streak come to an end ... The Blaze were only 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position ... Westcott's six innings pitched was a season-high.
On Deck: The Giants continue their homestand on Tuesday evening with a doubleheader against the Visalia Rawhide to mark the beginning of a four-game series at Municipal Stadium. Both games are scheduled for seven innings with the first contest slated to begin at 5:30 PM. Justin Fitzgerald (3-0, 1.20 ERA) of San Jose will oppose Visalia's Chase Anderson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) in the first game while Oliver Odle (3-0, 4.88 ERA) matches up against Kevin Eichhorn (0-0, 0.00 ERA) in the nightcap. The first game is a make-up from the April 21 rainout in Visalia and the Giants will be the road team. Tickets are available and can be purchased by calling (408) 297-1435 or by visiting www.sjgiants.com.