Oakland A's MLN: Ports' Rally Stuns San Jose

The Stockton Ports used a big ninth-inning rally to stun the San Jose Giants and even their semi-final California League playoff series at a game a piece. We have details on that game and other news from around the system inside...

Down 3-0 in the third inning and facing the California League Pitcher of the Year Kevin Pucetas, the Stockton Ports looked poised to go down 2-0 in their best-of-five series with rival San Jose. However, Stockton rallied against the Giants' bullpen and pulled out a stunning 7-6 win in Game Two of the series. The Ports and Giants continue their series on Monday in Stockton.

Oakland native and 2008 second round pick Tyson Ross got the call for Stockton on Sunday. It was Ross' pitching debut at High-A after spending his first professional season with the Kane County Cougars.

For the most part, Ross was impressive in his California League debut. The Cal alum worked five innings and he allowed only two hits and one walk and he struck-out five. He allowed three runs, but all of them were unearned after an error on Frank Martinez and on Ross allowed three to score in the third.

Stockton managed only one run off of Pucetas, a solo homerun by Josh Donaldson in the fourth. It was Donaldson's third homer of the post-season. He is batting .400 in five post-season games and he went 3-4 with two RBIs on Sunday.

The Ports were looking at a 5-1 deficit in the top of the seventh after Kristian Bell allowed two runs in one-third of an inning in the sixth. Stockton clawed back in the seventh, however. Frank Martinez, Jermaine Mitchell and Mike Massaro hit back-to-back-to-back doubles off of reliever Taylor Wilding, who took over for Pucetas in the seventh. Those three doubles scored two. Josh Horton would then drive-in a third run in the inning with a one-out single.

James Heuser allowed a solo homerun in the eighth inning, leaving the Ports down 6-4 in the top of the ninth. Alexander Valdez struck-out to start the inning against Joe Paterson, but when San Jose replaced Paterson with closer Dan Otero, the Ports jumped all over Otero. Gilbert greeted Otero with an infield single and he reached second on a bad throw by shortstop Sharlon Schoop. Horton then followed with an infield single of his own to move Gilbert to third. Chris Carter followed with a triple to right that allowed both runners to score and tied the game. After Matt Spencer was intentionally walked, Donaldson singled to drive home Carter with the winning run.

Michael Benacka worked a scoreless ninth to earn the save. Heuser got the win with 2.2 innings of relief with one run allowed.

Other News and Notes

* Sacramento will defend the PCL title against the Oklahoma RedHawks (Texas). Oklahoma knocked out the Iowa Cubs in a winner-takes-all game on Sunday.

* Jared Lansford has been promoted to Triple-A to help the River Cats' bullpen in the finals. Sacramento was down a reliever after Jeff Gray was promoted to Oakland on Friday. Lansford had a strong season as a reliever for High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland. With Midland, Lansford allowed only two runs in 25.2 innings in relief.

* The River Cats are looking to win their fourth PCL title in six years and their second in a row. Three players from the team's 2007 championship squad are still with the team: Danny Putnam, Gregorio Petit and Brad Knox. Gray was also on the 2007 championship team.

* Ross became the second A's 2008 draft pick to advance past Low-A Kane County when he debuted for Stockton on Sunday. Justin Murray (Double-A Midland) was the first. Last season, the A's had two draft picks debut higher than Low-A: James Simmons (Double-A Midland) and Sam Demel (High-A Stockton).

* The River Cats rotation will have a different look against Oklahoma. Left-hander Lenny DiNardo has landed on the DL with a sore left arm, while Game Two starter Sean Gallagher, who was rehabbing for Oakland, has returned to the big leagues. Brett Anderson, who relieved Gallagher in Game Two, is expected to join the rotation.

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