Oakland A's MLN: The Ports Do It Again

The Stockton Ports are making a habit of late-game comebacks in this post-season. We have the details on the Ports' latest stunner, as well as the rotations for the PCL finals and news on award-winners for the Midland Rockhounds.

Oops, They Did It Again...Stockton Stuns San Jose With Three In The Ninth For Second Game In A Row

They say that Hollywood loves a sequel, and the Stockton Ports script for their Game Two win over San Jose was such a box-office hit, they ran it out there again in Game Three. Faced once again with a two-run deficit in the ninth, the Ports rallied for three runs off of the Giants' bullpen for a 7-6 win. Stockton is now one win away from advancing to the California League finals.

The odds looked long for Stockton to pull out a win going into the late innings against San Jose on Monday night. After taking an early 2-0 lead on a solo homerun by Chris Carter (his third of the playoffs and 42nd of the year) and a Matt Spencer single, Stockton went down 6-2, as San Jose scored three in the fourth off of starter Scott Mitchinson and two in the fifth off of reliever Derrick Gordon. The Giants then added a run in the seventh off of Patrick Currin.

Down 6-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Stockton pulled a little closer with a two-run rally. With one-out, Frank Martinez walked and Jermaine Mitchell singled. After Mike Massaro popped out, Archie Gilbert walked to load the bases. Josh Horton, who is having a stand-out post-season, then doubled to drive home two. The rally would end there, however, as Gilbert was thrown out at home trying to score from first.

After a scoreless top of the ninth from eventual winning pitcher Branden Dewing, the Ports got to work on the Giants bullpen in the bottom half of the inning. After Carter popped out to start the inning, Spencer singled and Josh Donaldson walked to chase Juan Trinidad. Lefty Joe Paterson came on to face the left-handed hitting Corey Brown and Brown came through big time with a booming double to center-field high off of the batter's eye. That double scored two runs and tied the game.

After Brown's game-tying hit, the Giants walked switch-hitter Frank Martinez to set the stage for a lefty-lefty battle of Paterson and Jermaine Mitchell. Mitchell won the battle, singling to center and scoring Brown with the game-winning run.

Mitchell, who is batting .360 in the post-season, went 2-5, while Spencer added three hits and Horton added two. Both Spencer and Horton are batting better than .400 in the post-season.

Stockton will try to win the series and move on to the Cal League finals on Tuesday night in Stockton. Lefty Carlos Hernandez, who was promoted from Kane County for this series, will make his High-A debut for the Ports against Daryl Maday.

Sacramento Rotation Set For Finals

The Sacramento River Cats have set their rotation for the PCL finals series against the Oklahoma RedHawks.

In Game One, the River Cats will send 20-year-old left-hander Brett Anderson to the mound against veteran Elizardo Ramirez. Anderson will be making his second playoff appearance for the River Cats after throwing four innings of relief in Game Two of the semi-final series.

Game Two will feature veteran right-hander Chris Gissell on the mound for Sacramento against lefty Derek Lee. Gissell had a strong season for Sacramento, going 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 81.1 innings in his first season with the A's.

Texas League Pitcher of the Year Vince Mazzaro will head to the mound for Sacramento in Game Three. He will take on right-hander Brian Gordon. Mazzaro struggled a bit with the River Cats at the end of the season after posting brilliant numbers with Double-A Midland, but he was strong in his first outing with the River Cats in the post-season.

If the best-of-five series moves beyond the first three games, the River Cats will turn to veteran righty Brad Knox in Game Four and the RedHawks will throw lefty Michael Ballard out there. Top Rangers prospect Tommy Hunter would go in Game Five for Oklahoma, with his River Cats' opponent yet to be determined.

The series begins on Tuesday night in Sacramento at 7:05pm PST.

Midland Announces Two Award-Winners

The Midland Rockhounds announced this week that Jesus Guzman and Vince Mazzaro have been awarded the Texas League's batting title and ERA title, respectively.

Guzman, who hit .364 in 376 plate appearances with Midland this season, actually finished the year two plate appearances short of the minimum to qualify for a batting title. However, minor league rule 10.22(a) states that if a player's average would still be the highest even if he went 0-for-the-number-of-qualifying-at-bats, he would win the batting title. In Guzman's case, if he went 0-2, it would lower his average only to .362, which still put him 18 points ahead of the next closest hitter.

Guzman is the first player in Midland franchise history to win the Texas League batting title.

Mazzaro became the second player in Midland franchise history to win the league ERA crown with his sparkling 1.90 mark. He was the first Rockhounds' pitcher to win the Texas League Pitcher of the Year award. The 2008 Rockhounds are just the 14th team in the Texas League's 100-plus year history to have an ERA champ and a batting title champ on the same team.

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