SAN JOSE, Calif. (Press release) - Juan Perez had three hits and reached base in all five of his plate appearances while Justin Fitzgerald matched a career-high with seven innings pitched to lead the San Jose Giants to a 10-2 victory over the Modesto Nuts on Monday evening at John Thurman Field. The Giants scored four times in the top of the first innings before cruising to their fourth win in five games during the series. With the victory, San Jose improves their record to 29-17 and moves four games ahead of the Nuts (24-20) in the first half race.
Perez (3-for-3, 2B, RBI, 2 SB) added two runs and two stolen bases to lead a 14-hit Giants offensive attack. Francisco Peguero (2-for-5, 2 RBI), former Hudson Hornet Brandon Belt (2-for-5, 2B, RBI), Wendell Fairley (2-for-5, SB) and Ehire Adrianza (2-for-5) also contributed two hits apiece for San Jose.
Fitzgerald (4-0) maintained his perfect record after limiting the Nuts to a pair of runs (both earned) on seven hits during his stint on the mound. The right-hander, who didn't allow a run after the first inning, walked one and struck out five.
The Giants immediately jumped on Modesto starting pitcher Ethan Hollingsworth in the top of the first inning sending eight hitters to the plate in the frame. Three consecutive singles from Perez, Jose Flores and Peguero to begin the game produced the first run of the inning. After Belt struck out, Johnny Monell reached on an error to load the bases. Charlie Culberson then hit a slow ground ball to third base that was fielded by James Cesario, however the throw to the plate in an attempt to force out Flores sailed over the head of catcher Jordan Pacheco for an error as two runs scored on the play. Drew Biery followed with a sacrifice fly to right extending the San Jose lead to 4-0.
The Nuts cut the Giants advantage in half in the bottom of the first scoring twice against Fitzgerald before an out was recorded. Thomas Field led off by drawing a walk before stealing second and then coming home on Tim Wheeler's double. Wheeler promptly advanced to third base on a wild pitch and then scored when Monell's throw to third sailed down the left field line for an error. Fitzgerald did recover to set down the next three hitters and Modesto would not score for the remainder of the evening.
The Giants took advantage of another Nuts miscue in the top of the fourth to take a 5-2 lead. Consecutive one-out singles from Adrianza and Perez put runners on the corners against Hollingsworth. Perez then stole second base and when Pacheco's throw bounced into center field, Adrianza raced home with San Jose's fifth run of the contest.
In the top of the sixth, Fairley and Adrianza delivered back-to-back one-out singles to put runners on first and second before Perez grounded an RBI double down the left field line.
San Jose then sent all nine hitters to the plate in the top of the eighth against reliever Michael Marbry to move ahead by a 10-2 margin. Biery and Fairley began the inning with consecutive singles before Adrianza grounded out. A wild pitch brought home Biery to make it 7-2 while Perez then drew a walk. After Flores bounced into a fielder's choice for the second out, Peguero hit a sharp ground ball single into left field to plate Perez for the second run of the inning. Belt followed with an RBI single of his own before Monell lined an RBI single into center to cap the 10-run evening.
Fitzgerald cruised through the remainder of his outing pitching around a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth before retiring six in a row until Wheeler began the sixth with a single. Fitzgerald induced a double play from the next hitter, Pacheco, while also working through a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh to end his night.
Brian Anderson (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO) relieved Fitzgerald to begin the bottom of the eighth and fired a pair of hitless innings to finish the game.
Hollingsworth (5-2), who entered the game tied for first in the league in wins and fourth in ERA, was tagged for six runs (two earned) on nine hits over six innings to suffer the loss.
Notes: The Giants have won 13 out of their last 14 games ... Monday marked San Jose's final regular season game in Modesto ... The Giants posted a 6-2 record at John Thurman Field ... Flores (1-for-5) extended his hitting streak to 13 games with his first-inning single ... Eight San Jose starters finished with at least one hit ... The Giants out-hit the Nuts by a 14-7 margin ... Belt hit his 16th double to tie for the league lead ... Fitzgerald is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts against Modesto this season.
On Deck: The Giants enjoy an off day on Tuesday before returning to action on Wednesday evening with the opener of a four-game series at Stockton. First pitch at Banner Island Ballpark is scheduled for 7:05 PM. Kyle Nicholson (3-2, 5.87 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while the Ports are expected to counter with Shawn Haviliand (3-1, 3.47 ERA). The game can be heard live on www.sjgiants.com.