The Stockton Ports have struggled in their defense of their California League championship title. On alumni night, the Ports weren't able bring back the winning magic, as they lost to the San Jose Giants 5-3 in 11 innings to fall to 1-9.
Justin Murray got the start for Stockton. He and Scott Mitchinson are in a tandem starting platoon for the start of the season, meaning that each pitcher will be scheduled to throw four to five innings every fifth day. They will alternate who starts the games.
Murray retired the first six batters of the game before a runner reached on an error to start the third inning. Two errors in the inning led to three unearned runs, and those would be costly for Stockton.
The Ports got back into the game in the bottom of the inning when first-baseman Matt Spencer crushed a two-run homerun to bring the game to 3-2. It was the second consecutive day that Spencer had homered.
Stockton's offense would go into hibernation after the Spencer homer, as 11 batters would be retired before Jermaine Mitchell singled in the seventh. He would be quickly erased on a caught stealing.
The Ports would rally in the bottom of the eighth inning when San Jose relievers Craig Whitaker and Daniel Turpen had some wildness. The rally began with two-outs when Michael Richard was hit by a pitch. Spencer followed with a double to move Richard to third. Greg Dowling was intentionally walked and Dante Love came up with the bases loaded and two-outs. Love, who was in the game because starting catcher Matt Smith injured his throwing hand on a foul tip, worked a two-out walk and the game was tied. Toddric Johnson had a chance to put the Ports ahead, but he hit a slow roller than Turpen made a good defensive play on and Johnson was thrown out in a close play at first to end the inning.
Defense was the story of the night. Stockton committed four errors, while the Giants made several strong plays, especially in the infield.
The game remained tied until the 11th inning, although not without some controversy. In the top of the 10th, the Giants had the bases loaded with two-outs when Angel Villalona hit a slow roller to shortstop. Richard went to second with the throw and the runner, Roger Kieschnick, appeared to beat the throw by a couple of steps. He was called out, however, setting off a long argument by Giants' manager Andy Skeels.
In the long run, it wouldn't end up mattering, as the Giants would come out on top in the next inning when Brandon Crawford hit a two-out, two-run homerun to give the Giants a 5-3 lead they wouldn't lose.
For the Ports, it was another night of good pitching wasted. Murray went three innings and didn't allow an earned run while striking out four. Nick Walters had a scoreless inning of relief. He was followed by Mitchinson, who was outstanding in his second outing of the season. The right-hander threw 5.2 scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and struck-out six. He walked four, but two of those were intentional. Ports' pitchers combined to hold top Giants' prospect Buster Posey to an 0-5 night with three strike-outs and a walk.
Justin Friend relieved Mitchinson in the 10th with two-outs and he was hung with a loss when he allowed the Crawford homer in the top of the 11th. The Ports have scored more than four runs only once this season.
Frank Martinez tags the runner as part of a double-play.
Toddric Johnson fouls off a pitch.
Scott Mitchinson came into the game in the 5th.
Conor Gillaspie makes the long throw across the diamond for an out.
Frank Martinez makes the play.
Mitch Lively threw two scoreless innings.
Jermaine Mitchell is caught stealing second.
Nick Noonan pops up a bunt foul.
Frank Martinez turns two.
Craig Whitaker was charged with a run in two-thirds of an inning.
Giants catcher and 2008 1st round pick Buster Posey.
Daniel Turpen walked three in 1.1 innings.
Dante Love watches ball four to walk in tying run.
Turpen throws out Johnson on a close play with the bases loaded and two outs.
Shane Keough contemplates the next pitch.
Justin Friend got the loss.
Giants manager Andy Skeels argues a call.
Wilmin Rodriguez got the win.
Brandon Crawford hits the game-winning homer.
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STOCKTON, CA - The Stockton Ports' slow start continued on Saturday. The Ports took the San Jose Giants into extra-innings, but they fell by a score of 5-3 in 11 innings. We have photos from the game inside...
Stockton Photo Gallery: Ports Fall In Extras
Stockton drops their ninth in 10 games, this time by a score of 5-3.