LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (Press release) - The San Jose Giants hit a season-high four triples, including two from Francisco Peguero, in a convincing 9-3 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Thursday evening at The Diamond. San Jose pounded out 15 hits in the series-opening victory and batted around in two separate innings to extend their winning streak to seven games. The Giants, who have also won seven consecutive road contests, improve their overall record to a season-high 20 games over the .500 mark (44-24).
Peguero (3-for-5, 2 3B) started three of San Jose four run-scoring rallies to lead the offensive attack. James Simmons (3-for-5, 2B) also finished with three hits while Brandon Belt (2-for-5, 3B, 2 RBI), Johnny Monell (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI) and Drew Biery (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI) each contributed two hits and two RBI's.
Craig Westcott (5-0) earned the win on the mound to maintain his perfect record. Westcott pitched the first five innings and allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Scott Nestor (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO) and Ben Wilshire (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO) each tossed two scoreless innings of relief. Wilshire was credited with his first save of the year.
The Giants went ahead for good in the contest after sending 10 hitters to the plate in the top of the fourth and scoring four runs against Storm reliever Eric Gonzalez. With the score tied 1-1, Peguero began the frame with a triple to deep left center field before Belt lined an RBI single into right. After Belt stole second, Charlie Culberson drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Gonzalez struck out the next hitter, Monell, but then plunked Biery to load the bases. Wendell Fairley followed with an infield single to first base plating Belt with the second run of the inning before Simmons bounced into a fielder's choice as Culberson was forced out at home.
Juan Perez was up next and he hit a ground ball to third base that was fielded by Vincent Belnome, but the throw to second in an attempt to force out Simmons was late resulting in another run to score. Joel Weeks then reached on a fielding error committed by first baseman Cody Decker allowing Fairley to score for a 5-1 San Jose advantage.
Lake Elsinore immediately cut the lead in half with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, but would not score again for the remainder of the night. Jaff Decker led off the inning with a towering home run to right field before Robert Lara's one-out RBI double down the left field line brought the Storm to within 5-3. Westcott though stranded Lara at second before working around a pair of two-out singles in the bottom of the fifth to complete his outing.
The Giants went ahead 6-3 in the top of the fifth on consecutive two-out doubles from Monell and Biery.
San Jose sent all nine hitters to the plate in the top of the ninth scoring three more times to expand their lead. Peguero led off with another triple to deep left center field before Culberson drew a one-out walk. Monell then lined a triple to the fence in deep left field scoring both runners. Biery followed with a line drive single into center field plating Monell to make it 9-3.
Nestor pitched around a single and a walk in the sixth inning before a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh. Wilshire entered the game to begin the bottom of the eighth and allowed a single and issued one walk during his stint on the mound.
Gonzalez (0-1) suffered the loss for Lake Elsinore after yielding five runs (four earned) on five hits over two innings of work. Storm starting pitcher Jorge Reyes worked only the first three innings with one run allowed and three strikeouts.
The Giants initially took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Peguero singled with two outs before Belt hammered an RBI triple off the fence in left. Lake Elsinore tied the score in the bottom of the third without the benefit of a hit as Blake Tekotte drew a leadoff walk, stole second, advanced to third on Drew Cumberland's groundout and then scored on Cole Figueroa's groundout.
Notes: Thursday marked the first meeting of the season between the Giants and Storm - the first half division champions in the North and South respectively... San Jose is 4-0 on their current road trip ... The Giants haven't lost a road game since suffering a 7-6 loss at Bakersfield on June 3 ... Belt extended his hitting to nine games ... San Jose is averaging 8.7 runs per game during their current seven-game win streak ... Peguero leads the team and is tied for second in the California League with eight triples ... Westcott finishes the first half with a league-best 1.55 ERA ... The Giants are 11-1 in games Westcott starts.
On Deck: The Giants and Storm continue their three-game series on Friday evening with first pitch at The Diamond scheduled for 7:05 PM. Justin Fitzgerald (5-0, 3.00 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Lake Elsinore is expected to counter with Anthony Bass (5-2, 2.93 ERA). A Giants victory would tie their team record for consecutive road wins (eight). The game can be heard live on www.sjgiants.com.