Joel Payamps took the mound this evening with Rawhide starters having dealt four consecutive quality starts, and he picked up right where Justin Donatella left off yesterday, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning. Payamps (W, 3-0) had a good slider working for him all night and used it to strike out six Giants hitters. He would depart the game with one out in the seventh having allowed one run on three hits, all doubles, with one walk. His final out came with a strikeout of the Giants seventh-ranked prospect Heath Quinn with runners on second and third and nobody out.
Kirby Bellow took over for Payamps and got out of the jam unscathed by inducing a pop-out from Gio Brusa and a groundout from Matt Winn. San Jose (15-24) had received back-to-back doubles from Aramis Garcia and Dillon Dobson, but had failed to score because Garcia had to hold and make sure the grounder that was hit in front of him wouldn’t be fielded by a sliding Serigo Alcantara. At the time, the Rawhide held a 2-1 lead, so Garcia staying at third kept the tying run from scoring.
Bellow would also work out of a jam in the eighth inning by walking two batters. But he got a groundout from Garcia to keep the Giants off the board. The Giants would also load the bases in the ninth off of Bud Jeter with a double, a single, and a walk, but Jeter would escape the jam without allowing a run. San Jose stranded nine runners on base in the game, seven of which came in the final three innings.
Visalia (20-19) got off to a strong start offensively by plating a pair in the third thanks to a bases-loaded double play ball by Alcantara and an RBI single by Marty Herum. Giants starter Conner Menez (2-2) would settle down and get the Rawhide in order in the fourth and fifth innings, and kept Visalia off the board again through his six innings. But against Heath Slatton in the bottom of the seventh, Matt McPhearson blooped a one-out double down the left field line and was scored on seeing-eye single by Sergio Alcantara to make it 3-1 Visalia.
In the last of the eighth, Francis Christy drew a one-out walk against Slatton and then, two batters later, Grant Heyman blasted his team-leading sixth home run to dead center field, giving the Rawhide a 5-1 lead.
San Jose’s lone run came in the fifth inning, when Dobson walked and was moved to third when Quinn doubled. Winn hit a bloop to shallow center that McPhearson had no chance to catch. But Daniel Lockhart came sprinting from second base to snag the pop. With Lockhart’s momentum carrying him away from home, Dobson was easily able to score.
The Rawhide will continue the three-game series against San Francisco affiliate San Jose tomorrow evening, with first pitch at 6 PM. Visalia will send right-hander Jose Almonte to the mound and the Giants will counter with the righty Mike Connolly. Tickets are still available at rawhidebaseball.com.