STOCKTON, Calif. (Press release) - The Stockton Ports scored 10 runs in the first four innings before cruising to a 13-3 victory over the San Jose Giants in the opener of a four-game series on Wednesday evening at Banner Island Ballpark. Stockton's Todd Johnson and Shane Keough each blasted home runs while starting pitcher Shawn Haviliand tossed seven scoreless innings to earn the win. With the loss, San Jose's record drops to 29-18 while they maintain a four-game lead over the Modesto Nuts for the top spot in the first half North Division race.
Kyle Nicholson (3-3) suffered the loss for the Giants after surrendering a career-high 10 runs (eight earned) on 12 hits over 3 2/3 innings. Nicholson allowed five runs in the bottom of the second and four runs in the fourth inning as the Ports built a significant lead.
Juan Perez (2-for-4, 2 SB) and former Hudson Hornet Brandon Belt (2-for-4) each produced multi-hit games at the plate to lead San Jose offensively. Stockton out-hit the Giants by a 16-9 margin.
The Ports jumped ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning when the leadoff hitter Keough singled, advanced to second on a balk and then scored on Mike Spina's two-out single to left.
Stockton then exploded for five runs on five hits in the second inning against Nicholson to take a 6-0 lead. Consecutive singles from Jeremy Barfield and Petey Paramore started the frame before Michael Richard reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Keough followed by grounding into a fielder's choice as Barfield scored the first run of the inning. Grant Green then singled home another run before Johnson belted a three-run homer to deep right field to make it 6-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, Keough led off with a towering homer to right - his first round-tripper of the year. With one out, Johnson restarted the rally with a single, stole second and then scored when the next hitter, Spina, doubled to right center. A hit by a pitch and a single from Tyler Ladendorf loaded the bases before a passed ball charged to Giants catcher Johnny Monell scored the third run of the inning. Then with two outs, Paramore reached on a fielding error by the first baseman Belt to score Stockton's 10th run of the evening.
Scott Nestor (2 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO) and Ben Wilshire (2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO) both worked out of the San Jose bullpen. Nestor relieved Nicholson with two outs in the fourth before tossing scoreless fifth and sixth innings. Wilshire struck out a pair while holding the Ports off the scoreboard in the seventh, but then allowed three runs on three hits in the eighth as Stockton extended their lead to 13-0.
The Giants finally broke through in the top of the ninth inning against Ports reliever Andrew Carignan. Ryan Lormand led off with a double into the right center field gap before Francisco Peguero reached on an error and Belt singled to load the bases. Consecutive groundouts from Monell and Charlie Culberson each brought home a run while Drew Biery's two-out single into left center plated Monell to make it 13-3.
Haviland (4-1) surrendered six hits with no walks and five strikeouts during his stint on the mound. San Jose had the leadoff batter reach base in four out of the first six innings against Haviland, but failed to score in each frame.