STOCKTON, CA -- The Stockton Ports are giving the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees a run for their money as the best team in minor league baseball right now. Stockton won its 20th game in 24 contests on Sunday in dramatic fashion, as Chris Carter crushed a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the 11th to send Stockton home a winner. We have the photos from the Ports' 23rd win of the season inside...
All photos by Chris Lockard/Scout.com
It was a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the ballpark on Sunday and the Ports' relievers got into the fun by donning sombreros.
Right-hander Graham Godfrey
got the start for Stockton. He allowed a solo homerun in the first inning, but not much more. Although he was stuck with a no-decision, Godfrey worked six strong innings, allowing one run on four hits and one walk. His ERA sits at 4.43 for the season.
It was a tough day for pop-ups on Sunday. Chris Carter
dropped one in the fourth inning, but it didn't wind-up costing the Ports a run...
...Modesto third baseman Nick Haley
had to stagger, but he was able to hold on to this towering pop-up.
Stockton got on the board in the fourth inning when Darryl Lawhorn
cracked a two-run homer to right-center field. Lawhorn has three homers and 10 RBIs this season and is batting .333.
Geoff Strickland had time to blow a bubble while making this play...
... while Mike Affronti
had to work a little harder on turning this double-play.
Godfrey didn't record a strike-out but he did a good job keeping the Nuts off-balance throughout the game.
grounds a single to right. He went 1-3 with three walks and two runs scored.
came on for Godfrey in the seventh. He was charged with two runs in two-thirds of an inning, even though he didn't allow a hit. He walked two.
relieved Fragoso with two on and two-out in the seventh. He would allow both inherited runners to score and two more of his own, although two of those runs came after a botched pick-off play that should have ended the inning. Gordon pitched a scoreless eighth inning to keep the Ports in the game.
Stockton needed a rally down 5-3 in the eighth. Jed Morris
, seen here fouling off a pitch, brought the Ports within a run with a solo homerun. It was Morris' seventh homerun of the season and his 27th RBI. He is batting .314.
Mitchell would score the tying run on a Frank Martinez
single, Martinez's second RBI single of the game. Mitchell just got in ahead of the throw, which squirted past Nuts' catcher Mike McKenry.
took over for Gordon in the ninth and he pitched very well. Demel tossed two scoreless innings, allowing only a walk and striking out three.
took over for Demel in the top of the 11th. He escaped big trouble after a lead-off walk to get the Ports into the bottom of the 11th still tied.
Farley was able to escape trouble in large part due to Frank Martinez. With a runner on third and one-out, the Ports brought the infield in. Martinez made a leaping stop of a high chopper and, after looking the runner back to third, threw out the batter at first. The Ports would go into the 11th tied at 5.
The bottom of the 11th started out quietly with two quick outs for Stockton. Then stepped in Josh Horton
, who hit his second double of the game just beyond the outstretched arms of center-fielder Anthony Jackson
After Modesto intentionally walked Sean Doolittle to get the righty-righty match-up, Chris Carter made the Nuts pay. On a 2-0 count, Carter took Modesto reliever David Patton
very deep over the wall in left for a walk-off, no-doubt three-run homer. It was Carter's 10th homerun of the season and his 27th RBIs, as Stockton won the game by a score of 8-5.
The Ports celebrated their 23rd win of the season. Stockton has a four-game lead over San Jose in the division and has beaten Modesto 10 consecutive times. Stockton is off on Monday and will welcome Rich Harden
on a rehab appearance on Tuesday. Stockton outfielder Archie Gilbert
will look to extend his hitting streak to 20 games on Tuesday.