Cal League Division Playoffs: Game 1

The Giants lose a Co-MVP, gain a Co-MVP, and simply thrash the Modesto Nuts in Game 1 of the California League Division Playoffs.

No Eddy Martinez-Esteve? No problem for the San Jose Giants.

The Giants traded one Co-MVP for another and easily trounced the Modesto Nuts, 14-2, in Saturday night’s Game 1 of the California League Northern Divisional Series.

Martinez-Esteve, Co-MVP of San Jose in 2005, injured his foot in the final game of the regular season, and after an X-Ray on Thursday, doctors shelved him for the series. Fortunately for the Giants, the other Co-MVP, Kevin Frandsen, was in town after the regular season for AAA Fresno ended and had already been working out with the team with the permission of manager Lenn Sakata. So at 5:00 PM Friday night, he was notified that he was on the playoff roster.

The move worked out well. Frandsen went 4 for 5 with a double, an RBI and 3 runs and was a sparkplug for the offense. The 4 hits by a single player in a playoff game tied a San Jose team record.

The offense didn’t take long to get started against Modesto starter Juan Morillo. Morillo walked the first two batters he faced, then gave up an infield single to Frandsen and then a 2 RBI single to Nate Schierholtz. Brian Buscher doubled in 2 more runs, before Morillo got Travis Ishikawa to pop out, and hit Todd Jennings with a pitch. After giving up a walk to catcher Guillermo Rodriguez, Morillo was pulled out of the game. Clay Timpner got 2 more RBI with a single before the inning was over, topping off a 6 run first, and the Giants were off to the races.

The Giants continued to pound the Nuts relievers. Aaron Marsden pitched 3.2 innings of relief, and gave up 5 more runs. The second inning featured Jennings getting an RBI on a ground out, and Ishikawa getting an RBI single to make it 8-0 at the end of 2. Jake Wald led off the third with a solo home run, and Rodriguez hit a 2 run homer in the 4th to give the Giants an 11-0 lead.

That paired with a strong start from lefty Jason Waddell. Waddell pitched 5 scoreless innings, but gave up a hit and a walk to lead off the 6th inning. Jeff Petersen relieved Waddell, and though he did allow those two runners to score, Petersen pitched through the 8th without any more runs coming in. Juan Serrato pitched the 9th.

To top it off, in the 7th inning, Kevin Frandsen doubled ahead of a Nate Schierholtz single for another run. In the 8th, John Bowker hit a bases loaded groundout and Frandsen hit a sacrifice fly to top off the scoring.

The game also featured the debuts of two callups from Augusta. Brian Horwitz, a former UC Berkeley player, pinch hit to lead off the 8th. Horwitz, the batting leader of the South Atlantic League, picked up an infield single. Nick Conte, the son of San Francisco Giants trainer Stan Conte, came in to catch the top of the 9th inning on a defensive substitution.

The 12 run win margin also tied a playoff record for San Jose, matching the margin set when they beat Stockton 12-0 in 1995.

The Best of 5 series will continue with Game 2 Sunday at Memorial Stadium in San Jose. Garrett Broshuis will start for San Jose, while Larry Robles will make the start for Modesto. Player of the Game: Kevin Frandsen. He could be the player of the year for the entire Giants minor league system. It seems like he just can’t not be good, and Saturday night, with 24 hours notice, it was no different. The Co-MVP of the team tied a playoff record with his 4 hits, and was a general firestarter, beating out infield hits and being on base for others to drive him in. He even made a spectacular defensive play in the 8th, moving to his left and throwing against his body to get an out at 2nd. It’s hard to watch the guy and not wonder what he can do in the majors.

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