While the San Francisco Giants were facing their arch nemesis in the Dodgers, 50 miles south, the San Jose Giants were playing in Game 1 of the North Division Series in the Cal League playoffs.
The San Jose Giants, class A+ affiliate for the big league team, are the reigning Cal League champions. Not only that, but they won back-to-back in 2009 and 2010. With Game 1, the set forth to repeat again.
Their foe was the Stockton Ports (A+ for the Oakland A’s). The Ports had defeated the Modesto Nuts (A+, Colorado Rockies) in a North Division mini-series, which determined who would advance to the North Division Series and face the San Jose team.
For San Jose, it was Craig Wescott (13-4, 3.42) on the hill. For Stockton, Robert Gilliam (12-7, 5,04).
Wescott began the game smoothly, retiring the first two batters that he faced. With Michael Choice at-bat and with two out, the Stockton outfielder blasted one over the fence for the Ports to take a 1-0 lead.
That lead was short lived. Star prospect Gary Brown lead the inning off with a double. After some situational hitting by Ehire Adrianza to move Brown to third and a Nick Noonan walk, Tommy Joseph drove in the Giants’ first run. One batter later, Ryan Cavan came up with a base hit, driving Noonan in and acquiring the lead.
Now, that lead was also short lived. In the top of the second, the Ports tied the game up. From then on, the feel of a high scoring game was bestowed upon the fans.
For an inning and a half, there was no scoring done. Maybe — just maybe — it would be the beginning of a low scoring game feel. However, that was not to be. With the bases loaded in the top of the fourth, Mitch LeVier hit one out over the right field fence. A grand slam for the Ports and also the lead.
The Giants were able to whittle away at that lead slowly. Just a half inning later, Jarrett Parker cut the lead to two runs with a solo home run. A little later in the inning, Noonan came through with an RBI single, driving in Carter Jurica and Brown. Stockton’s lead was now at one.
The next four innings would prove to be quiet for the Giants, scoring no runs and barely getting on base. The case would be different for Stockton, as they managed to get another run across the board in the sixth inning.
The action lasted to the bottom of the ninth inning. Being down 7-5, Stockton brought in their closer, Jose Guzman. Brown was set to lead off, and much to the fans’ approval, he got on base. Two strikeouts followed immediately after. The rally died with every pitch swung at. Up next was Tommy Joseph. Down by two with two out in the bottom of the ninth, the fans were hoping for a hero.
A base hit came out of Joseph’s at-bat, cutting the lead to one run once again. Brown scored from second after reaching second base on a defensive indifference. One run ties the game, two wins it. All eyes were now on Ryan Cavan.
But, no. Cavan was called out on strikes, thus ending the game. The Stockton Ports defeated the San Jose Giants by a final score of 7-6.
Game 2 takes place at Municipal Stadium, today at 5 PM.