For 8.2 innings, the Bakersfield Blaze were firing on all cylinders and built an 11-0 lead over the San Jose Giants, and despite giving up 6 runs after the first 2 outs in the 9th, they held on and coasted to an easy win in the opener of a 3-game set at Sam Lynn Ballpark in Bakersfield, 11-6.
For Blaze starting pitcher Tim Crabbe (W 5-5, 3.55 ERA), it was a dominating performance to say the least. In 7 innings, he faced 22 batters (one over the minimum), allowed just 2 to reach base (1 hit), and struck out 8 while walking just one. Giants starter Tom Vessella (L 3-4, 4.57 ERA) on the other hand, was not quite up to speed. He worked 4.2 innings, gave up 4 earned runs on 8 hits, walked 4 and struck out 2. All in all, the Giants were very accommodating, in giving up 10 walks with the 12 hits by the Blaze, and also committing an error.
The Blaze attack was consistent, as they scored in 7 of their 8 offensive innings.They were retired without scoring in the 4th by Vessella, and no other Giants hurler could do the same. The pen combination of Michael Main and Aaron King allowed 6 more runs over the final 3.1 innings, and the Blaze led 11-0 heading into the 9th.The Giants scored 6 times in that final frame after posting the first 2 outs, and Blaze reliever Drew Bowman came within one more strike of closing the door for a Blaze shutout. Instead, a 2-run homer by Hector Sanchez and a Luke Anders grand slam provided a different aesthetic to the Blaze victory.
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