BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Press release) - The San Jose Giants scored four runs in the top of the first inning while Justin Fitzgerald, Brian Anderson and Jason Stoffel combined on a five-hitter in a 4-1 victory over the Bakersfield Blaze on Sunday afternoon at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Fitzgerald worked into the sixth inning with just one run allowed to maintain his perfect record as the Giants took three out of four in the series. With the win, San Jose improves their record to 36-21 and opens up a six-game lead over the Modesto Nuts in the North Division race. The Giants have 13 games remaining in the first half.
Fitzgerald (5-0) surrendered a single run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings during his stint on the mound. The right-hander walked five and struck out five. Anderson (2 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) was effective in long relief before Stoffel (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) worked a perfect bottom of the ninth to earn his 11th save of the year.
Brandon Belt (2-for-3, 2B, SB) was the only San Jose player to finish with a multi-hit game. Joel Weeks (1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI) collected a pair of RBI's as the Giants finished the contest with eight hits.
In the top of the first inning, James Simmons led off by reaching on a passed ball when a strike three pitch was mishandled by Blaze catcher Doug Hogan. With two outs, Belt singled to put runners on first and second before Charlie Culberson grounded an RBI single into left. Wendell Fairley followed with a single up the middle to score the second run of the inning while Drew Biery then drew a walk to load the bases. Weeks was up next and he hammered a double off the fence down the right field line to bring home both Culberson and Fairley to make it 4-0.
Fitzgerald pitched around a pair of walks in a scoreless bottom of the first striking out Tommy Mendonca to end the threat. He then faced the minimum three hitters in the second, third and fifth innings before running into trouble in the bottom of the sixth. With the Giants still leading by a 4-0 margin, David Paisano began the sixth with a single before Davis Stoneburner drew a walk. After Chris Gradoville struck out, John Whittleman walked to load the bases and then Mendonca delivered an RBI single into center to make it 4-1.
Anderson then entered the contest and induced Erik Morrison to line out to shallow center before Mike Bianucci grounded out to shortstop on the first pitch of his at-bat ending the inning.
Anderson worked through a one-out single in the seventh before a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth. Stoffel needed only eight pitches to set down the side in the ninth.
Notes: San Jose is a season-high 15 games over .500 ... Their six-game lead in the standings is the largest they've enjoyed all year ... Fitzgerald lowered his ERA to 2.09 - third in the California League ... Weeks made his first start of the season in left field ... The Giants were held scoreless on four hits over the last eight innings ... San Jose improved to 12-4 against Bakersfield this season ... Blaze starter Wilmer Font (0-1) suffered the loss after yielding four unearned runs on six hits over five innings ... Font walked two and struck out seven.
On Deck: The Giants return home on Monday evening to begin a key four-game series against the second-place Modesto Nuts. First pitch at Municipal Stadium is scheduled for 7:00 PM. Kyle Nicholson (4-3, 6.94 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Modesto is expected to counter with Kenny Durst (6-2, 4.50 ERA). Tickets are available by calling (408) 297-1435 or by visiting www.sjgiants.com.