With Visalia leading 6-0, the San Jose Giants kicked their offense into gear in the sixth inning. With Jose Almonte working into the sixth for the third straight start, he walked Dillon Dobson and Heath Quinn to start the inning before giving up an infield single off of his hip to Ryan Howard, loading the bases with nobody out. The Rawhide got Keegan Long up and warming quickly in the bullpen and Almonte received mound visits from catcher Francis Christy and Pitching Coach Jeff Bajenaru back-to-back, an indication that the pitcher’s night is almost over.
Then Almonte came back to strike out Gio Brusa looking on a fastball. Long’s pace slowed in the bullpen, and Almonte struck out both Matt Winn and Joneshwy Fargus to end the inning. Almonte (W, 3-3) would depart after the sixth, having struck out nine batters and holding San Jose to just four hits in his second shutout outing against San Jose this year. He also walked three batters and hit two.
Long took over in the seventh and gave up a double to Aaron Hill on a rehab assignment from San Francisco, Hill’s send double of the game. Two batters later, Dobson would take a two-strike offering from Long out of the ballpark to left to put San Jose on the board, 6-2. Long would strike out Quinn to end the inning.
Long gave way to Cody Clark, who struggled out of the gate in the eighth, walking Howard and giving up a single to Brusa. Clark would come back to strike out Winn and Fargus, but after allowing an infield single to Jalen Miller Clark was lifted in favor of the hard-throwing right-hander Mason McCullough. McCullough walked pinch-hitter Jonah Arenado to bring in a run that was charged to Clark, but would strike out Aramis Garcia to end the inning.
McCullough (SV, 3) struck out Dobson to start the ninth and then fell behind Quinn on a two-and-oh count before Quinn took him deep off the roof of the barn in right center to bring the Giants within three. McCullough would strike out Howard and induce a pop-out to Christy to end the ballgame.
Visalia (21-19) had won its second straight game while San Jose (15-25) had lost its seventh contest in its last eight and have sunk to ten games below five hundred for the first time since July 9, 2015.
Marty Herum paced the Rawhide offense, which got going in the first inning. Matt McPhearson was hit by a pitch from San Jose starter Mike Connolly (L, 3-4) and was quickly plated when Sergio Alcantara doubled into the right-center field gap. Two batters later, Herum flipped a broken bat bloop single into right to score Alcantara and make it a 2-0 Visalia lead.
Herum would plate two more in the third inning when he hit a two-hop double off the barn to bring home McPhearson and Austin Byler and Grant Heyman would hit his second home run in as many games to center field in the fourth, capping the Rawhide scoring and giving Visalia a 6-0 lead.
Herum finished with four hits in four at bats, his first four-hit game of the year and the seventh of his career. McPhearson added a three hit night and Henry Castillo put up his second multi-hit performance, collecting two hits in his four plate appearances.
The Rawhide will conclude the three-game series against San Francisco affiliate San Jose tomorrow evening with a chance to seal their first sweep of 2017. First pitch is scheduled for 7 PM. Visalia will send right-hander Bo Takahashi to the mound and the Giants will counter with the righty Matt Solter. Tickets are still available at rawhidebaseball.com.