The game started slowly for Stockton. Left-hander Anthony Capra was on the mound making his debut with the Ports after a strong first 15 weeks of the season with Low-A Kane County. Capra had to work around some unusual plays early. The first batter of the game, Charles Blackmon, reached on a single that dropped in front of left-fielder Shane Keough for a bloop hit.
Blackmon then advanced on a controversial balk when Capra thought the batter had called time. After a wild pitch advanced Blackmon to third and Maikol Gonzalez walked, Hector Gomez drove home Blackmon with a sacrifice fly. The next batter, Scott Beerer, struck-out, but when Gonzalez took off for third base, catcher Yusuf Carter's throw bounced off of third baseman Matt Smith's glove and into foul territory, allowing an unearned run.
Capra would allow another run in the top of the third on a two-out double by Gomez and a single by Beerer, but he settled down to throw a scoreless fourth and fifth before departing with one-on and none-out in the sixth. In five-plus innings, Capra allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks. He struck-out six.
Capra was relieved in the sixth by Jamie Richmond, who was touched for a two-run homerun almost immediately after coming into the game, making the game 5-0.
To this point in the game, the Ports' offense was completely silent thanks to the brilliant pitching of 2008 Colorado first-round pick Christian Friedrich. The left-hander was dominant in five innings, allowing only two hits and a walk and striking out 11. Pitch count got to Friedrich, much to the benefit of the Ports' hitters.
Chris Malone took over for Friedrich in the sixth and the Ports almost immediately jumped on the reliever. With one-out, Steve Kleen lined a single to left. Carter then followed with a long homerun to left to get the Ports on the board. Grant Desme then lined a drive to left field that Beerer dove for and was unable to come up with. The speedy Desme raced around the bases and slid into third well ahead of the throw. The throw bounced away and Desme was able to scamper home, making the score 5-3.
The game remained 5-3 until the bottom of the eighth, as Richmond tossed a scoreless seventh and Jason Ray tossed a one-two-three eighth for Stockton. The Ports then mounted an unusual comeback in the bottom of the eighth. Keough and Kleen singled to lead-off the inning. Carter followed with a grounder to third that was booted by third baseman Radames Nazario, allowing Keough to score and Kleen to move to second. With runners at first and second, Desme struck-out, but the third strike bounced away wildly, allowing both runners to advance. The tying run then came home to score on a Matt Smith broken bat grounder to second.
Ray shut-down the Nuts in the ninth and Stockton got to work quickly in the bottom of the frame. Frank Martinez started it off with a single. Jermaine Mitchell then laid down a good bunt in front of the mound. Pitcher Sean Jarrett fielded the ball and threw wildly to first, allowing Martinez to go all of the way to third and Mitchell to go to second. Michael Richard was then intentionally walked to load the bases with no-outs. After a Keough pop-up, Kleen ended the game with a sacrifice fly to right.
We have photos from the game inside...
ALL PHOTOS BY CHRIS LOCKARD/SCOUT.COM