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Ports walk-off winners on Pineda’s home run blast

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POSTED April 16, 2012 1:25 a.m.

STOCKTON — In a game that saw many bizarre moments, including a swarm of bees that stopped play for approximately three minutes, Ryan Pineda provided the signature moment of the afternoon. Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the ninth, Pineda came up with two on and nobody out and launched his first home run of the season over the left field fence, lifting the Stockton Ports past the Modesto Nuts by a final of 10-9.

The Ports got the first run of the game in the second on an RBI groundout from Eliezer Mesa, taking advantage of the first of three Modesto errors on the afternoon.

Modesto tied it in the fourth on an RBI double from Chandler Laurent, scoring Bryce Massanari who opened the inning with a single. After Ports starter Blake Hassebrock struck out Dallas Tarleton in the fourth, players on the field simultaneously laid face-down on the field as a swarm of bees passed by, delaying play for nearly three minutes in a bizarre scene.

Modesto opened up their offensive attack in the fifth. With one on and one out, Brett Tanos, Juan Crousset and Massanari each doubled to give the Nuts a 4-1 lead. Massinari’s double went to the gap in left-center field, and in pursuit of the fly ball, Ports center fielder Myrio Richard slammed full-speed into the wall, taking nearly five minutes to get up and get his bearings. Richard would stay in the game and go 3-for-4 at the plate.

Hassebrock was knocked from the game in the middle of the fifth, giving way to Arnold Leon. Leon would allow a run of his own in the frame. In total, the Nuts scored six runs on seven hits in the fifth to take a 7-1 lead. Hassebrock would receive a no-decision, going 4.1 innings and allowing six runs on nine hits while striking out four.

The Ports would get a run back in the bottom of the inning as Juan Nunez, who singled to open the inning, scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-2.

Modesto, however, would get a second run off Leon in the sixth. Corey Dickerson hit a two-out single to center, scoring Tanos who’d walked to open the inning and making it a six-run deficit again at 8-2. Leon allowed two runs on six hits while striking out three in two innings of work.

A.J. Kirby-Jones would help the Ports chip away at the deficit in the bottom of the sixth when he hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot off Nuts starter Juan Gonzalez to make it 8-3.

Gonzalez would receive a no-decision, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out five in six innings of work.

The Ports cut into the deficit in a big way in the seventh. With Kraig Sitton on the mound for the Nuts, the Ports scored four runs on three hits and took advantage of three Modesto wild pitches and a Nuts error. Richard contributed an RBI double in the inning, and Josh Whitaker an RBI groundout. The Ports caught a break when Pineda hit a grounder to third and Tanos, Modesto’s third baseman, bounced the throw to first with Massanari unable to handle it. The play resulted in the continuation of the inning and a run. An ensuing wild pitch that brought home Kirby-Jones made it an 8-7 game.

In the eighth, Modesto padded their lead once again with a run off Ports reliever Connor Hoehn. Hoehn walked Tanos to start the inning, and he eventually scored on a wild pitch to bring the Modesto lead to 9-7.

Nuts reliever Kurt Yacko (0-1), after recording the final out of the eighth, came out for the ninth in his 2012 debut with Modesto. Yacko, with a two-run lead, allowed back-to-back singles to Head and Kirby-Jones. Pineda followed with his first home run of the year, a three-run blast into the Nuts bullpen to win the game for Stockton.

Jose Guzman (2-0), who pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, was credited with the win for the Ports.

After taking three of four from Modesto, the Ports will welcome the Lake Elsinore Storm to town for a three-game set. Right-hander Josh Bowman (0-1, 16.20 ERA) will get the start for the Ports, opposed by Storm left-hander Mark Hardy (0-2, 7.20 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.

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