September 13, 2023 – California League (CalL) – San Jose Giants News Release
The San Jose Giants opened the postseason in heartbreaking fashion on Tuesday night with a 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Modesto Nuts at John Thurman Field in Game 1 of the best-of-three North Division Series. The Giants carried a one-run lead into the bottom of the ninth when Modesto’s Lazaro Montes hit a game-tying solo home run to force extras before Colt Emerson’s bases loaded RBI single in the bottom of the 10th sent the Nuts to a dramatic walk-off victory. The series now shifts to Excite Ballpark in San Jose for Game 2 on Thursday evening.
Scott Bandura (2-for-5, 2 2B, RBI) doubled twice and drove in a run while Cole Foster (2-for-5, 2B), Turner Hill (2-for-3) and Diego Velasquez (2-for-4) also finished with multi-hit games to lead the offense in defeat. Dilan Rosario (1-for-5, 2B, RBI) added a key go-ahead RBI double in the top of the eighth. The Giants out-hit the Nuts 11-7 with Modesto’s only lead of the contest coming after Emerson’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th.
Game 1 was scoreless through three innings with San Jose starter Manuel Mercedes and Nuts hurler Michael Morales both excelling early. Each team managed only one hit over the first three frames. The Giants would then breakthrough with a two-run top of the fourth to take a 2-0 lead. Velasquez started the inning with a single and advanced to second on an errant pick-off throw from Morales. The next hitter was Justin Wishkoski, who grounded a double down the left field line to bring home Velasquez with the first run of the game. Bandura followed with a deep drove to right center that bounced over the fence for an automatic double as Wishkoski scored to make it 2-0.
Modesto would immediately get one run back in the bottom of the fourth as a one-out walk to Tai Peete started the rally before Luis Suisbel singled and Michael Arroyo walked to load the bases. Tatem Levins followed with a sacrifice fly down the left field line that plated Peete to get the Nuts on the scoreboard. An outstanding diving catch from the center fielder Hill on the next batter, R.J. Schreck, prevented further damage as the inning ended.
The Giants then responded with a single tally in the top of the fifth to reclaim their two-run lead. Foster led off with a double down the right field line before Hill’s bunt single put runners on the corners. Bryce Eldridge then collected an RBI with a fielder’s choice groundout as Foster scored for a 3-1 San Jose advantage.
Once again, however, Modesto answered back in the home half of the inning. With Mercedes still on the mound, Jonny Farmelo, a first round pick of the Seattle Mariners who was making his pro debut on Tuesday, lined a one-out single into center. Emerson then walked and Montes was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Peete was up next and he hit a grounder to first that Rosario fielded, but the throw home, in an attempt to force out the lead runner, was late as Farmelo scored to trim the Giants lead to 3-2. The play ended Mercedes’ night as Luis Moreno was summoned from the bullpen. Suisbel then greeted Moreno with a sacrifice fly as Emerson scored to tie the game 3-3.
Mercedes was charged with three runs on three hits over his 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander walked five and struck out only one during his 80-pitch outing.
The game would then remain at 3-3 all the way until the eighth inning. The Giants threatened in the top of the seventh as Hill and Eldridge drew back-to-back one-out walks, but Velasquez struck out and Wishkoski flied out to end the inning. Meanwhile, Moreno (1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 SO) pitched around a one-out error and a two-out single to throw a scoreless bottom of the sixth before Tyler Vogel struck out the side in a perfect seventh inning.
San Jose then rallied for two runs in the top of the eighth to take a late 5-3 lead. Bandura led off with a double down the left field line and immediately scored the go-ahead run when the next batter, Rosario, blasted a double to the fence in deep center. After Luke Shliger grounded out to advance Rosario to third, Alexander Suarez stepped up and lined an RBI single into left to extend the Giants lead to 5-3.
San Jose did have an opportunity for more in the top of the eighth as Cole Foster followed Suarez’s hit with a single and Hill was hit by a pitch to load the bases. However, Eldridge flied out to shallow left and Velasquez grounded out as the lead remained at two runs.
Vogel returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and quickly set down the first two batters on a groundout and another strikeout, but then walked leadoff hitter Brock Rodden. After a wild pitch advanced the runner to second, Farmelo grounded a triple down the left field line as Rodden scored to bring the Nuts within 5-4. Vogel though did comeback to strikeout the next hitter, Emerson, to strand the potential tying at third base.
The Giants then went down quietly in the top of the ninth setting the stage for Vogel in the bottom of the inning with San Jose only three outs from a Game 1 victory. The clean-up hitter Montes though led off by crushing a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left center for a game-tying solo home run that sent John Thurman Field into a frenzy. Montes had hit seven homers in his 33 regular season games with Modesto and boasted an impressive .994 OPS.
Vogel (3 IP, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 SO) did recover after the longball to set down the next three hitters on a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to send the game into extras.
In the top of the 10th, with Rosario as the automatic runner at second base, Shliger led off by striking out after a long eight-pitch battle. Suarez then flied out to right with Rosario getting thrown out at third on the play by Montes for an inning-ending double play.
Marques Johnson took over on the mound for San Jose in the bottom of the 10th and inherited the game-winning run at second base. Levins led off by grounding out to first which advanced the runner, Arroyo, to third. Schreck was then plunked before a four-pitch walk to Rodden loaded the bases. Up next was Farmelo who, with the infield playing in, hit a grounder to second that saw Velasquez calmly force out Arroyo at home plate for the second out of the inning. That set the stage for Emerson, another Mariners first round pick this year, who worked a full-count with the bases loaded and on a 3-2 pitch, hit a deep drive over the head of the center fielder Hill and to the fence. The hit officially went for a single as Schreck easily scored from third to give the Nuts the walk-off victory.
Modesto reliever Brandyn Garcia earned the win after tossing 2 2/3 hitless innings. Garcia, who stranded the bases loaded in the top of the eighth and then kept the Giants off the board in the ninth and tenth, walked none and struck out three. He retired the final seven batters he faced.
San Jose finished 5-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base. The Giants hit five doubles. The Nuts were 2-for-11 w/RISP and stranded 14. San Jose pitching issued eight walks. The Giants finished the regular season with a 1-5 record in their last six extra-inning games dating back to June. Modesto entered the playoffs having gone 17-2 in their final 19 regular season games.
Scott Bandura doubled twice in Tuesday’s Game 1 loss
Following an off day, the Giants and Nuts play Game 2 of the best-of-three North Division Series on Thursday night at Excite Ballpark. First pitch is set for 7:00 PM. Visit sjgiants.com for tickets.
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