The Quakes’ 1-game lead over the 66es for the South Division’s final playoff spot remained at one game after both teams lost series openers on Friday against North Division foes.
The Quakes fell 10-8 to North Division leader San Jose at the Epicenter, but didn’t go down without a fight.
Trailing 10-3, the Quakes rallied for a run in the seventh, two in the eighth and two more in the ninth. They got an RBI double from Carlos Colmenares and an RBI single from Jay Brossman in the ninth, and hat the tying runs on base before Rafael Cova came in to replace Wilimin Rodriguez on the mound for San Jose. Cova struck out Phillips to earn his first save.
The outcome might have been different if a close call in the eighth had gone their way. With one out, Clay Fuller doubled home Efren Navarro, but to make it 10-6, but P.J. Phillips was thrown out at the plate. Manager Keith Johnson argued that Phillips got his hand in under the tag from catcher Aaron Lowenstein (and it appeared he might’ve been right), but plate umpire Tim Eastman disagreed. Had Phillips been ruled safe, it would’ve been 10-7 with only one out and another runner in scoring position.
Johnson, who was hit in the head by a line drive while coaching third in Thursday’s game, returned to action Friday. He coached third at the beginning of Friday’s game, then watched the final few innings from the dugout.
The loss snapped the season-high four-game winning streak for the Quakes (51-61 overall, 21-21 second half).
Meanwhile, in the opener of a six-game trip to Stockton and Modesto, the Sixers (50-62, 18-24) fell 6-3 at Stockton (50-62, 25-17).
Steven Caseres was 2-for-3 with two runs and a double for the Sixers. Starter Josh Wall (2-6) allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits in five innings. Stockton led 6-1 after five innings.