Thursday was only my third day back after a two-week vacation, and the Quakes and 66ers were both involved in a couple of thrilling games.
QUAKES 7, MODESTO 6 (11 innings)
If the Quakes end up making the playoffs at the end of the season, they could very well point to Thursday’s victory in which they came back from a 6-0 deficit as the win that sent them on their way.
With the score tied 6-6, Brian Walker led off the 11th with his third hit of the game, a double to left. Alberto Rosario pinch-ran for him, but Andrew Romine’s bunt attempt was popped up for the first out. But Hector Estrella followed with a single to center, scoring Rosario and sending the rest of the Quakes streaming out of the dugout in celebration.
The Quakes had been stymied by Modesto starter Christian Friedrich, the Rockies’ first-round draft pick last year who struck out 11 in six innings.
Trailing 6-0, Walker got the Quakes’ scoring started by homering off of Friedrich leading off the sixth and Jay Brossman’s homer in the seventh made it 6-2.
They tied it in the eighth against a trio of Nuts relievers. Estrella had an RBI double and Efren Navarro an RBI single to make it 6-4, and the inning was helped by a throwing error by reliever Ching-Lung Lo that made the last two runs in the inning unearned. Clay Fuller was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 6-5. The Quakes then tried a suicide squeeze with one out and the bases loaded. Jeremy Moore appeared to beat the throw home on Carlos Colmenares’ bunt, but was ruled out.
Walker followed by drawing a walk, tying the score. Romine, the 10th batter to hit in the inning, grounded out leaving the score tied.
Nearly lost in the rally was the job done by the Quakes’ bullpen. The quintet of Ysmael Carmona, Kevin Nabors, Taylor Wilding, Michael Kohn and Eddie McKiernan (3-4) combined to pitch six shutout innings in relief of Ryan Brasier, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out seven.
The 11-inning game tied the longest of the year for the Quakes. They defeated High Desert 4-3 in 11 innings on May 14. The winning pitcher in both games? McKiernan.
The victory also gave the Quakes a series win, their first series win in five tries against the North Division this season.
LAKE ELSINORE 5, 66ERS 4
James Darnell singled off Marcel Prado to score Brad Chalk with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Lake Elsinore to the come-from-behind victory.
The Sixers had led early 4-1 on Jaime Ortiz’s three-run double in the third inning, but the Storm tied it with Sawyer Carroll’s three-run homer in the fifth and the game remained tied until the bottom of the ninth. Trayvon Robinson had three hits and Ortiz had two to lead the Sixers’ attack.