Quakes win, 66ers lose in Final Series openers

The Quakes moved one step closer to winning the second-half title by routing Lancaster 8-3 in the opener of a four-game series at Clear Channel Stadium in Lancaster on Friday night.

The win moved the Quakes (76-61 overall, 37-30 second half) two games up on both High Desert and Lake Elsinore in the second half race with three games to play. If the Quakes win the second half, they will have home-field advantage against High Desert in the first round. If it’s a tie with High Desert, High Desert will host because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. If Lake Elsinore wins, the Quakes would have home-field.

On Friday, the Quakes snapped a 2-2 tie with five runs in the fifth, capped by Eric Oliver’s three-run double. Darwin Perez had three hits and two RBIs and Luis Jimenez, in his first appearance since injuring his shoulder last weekend, hit a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning. Kyle Hurst (5-3) got the win, allowing two earned runs on six hits in eight innings.

The 66ers, long since eliminated from the playoff race, began a four-game series at Modesto with  4-0 loss. Juan Nicasio (12-10) and two relievers combined on a five-hitter for Modesto.

Josh Walter (1-10) took the loss, allowing four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. Austin Yount was the only Sixer with two hits.

In the North Division playoffs, Stockton clinched the second half title with a 9-8 victory over Bakersfield. That eliminated Bakersfield completely from the playoffs and left Visalia and Modesto vying for the final spot. Visalia, which beat first-half champ San Jose on Friday, leads Modesto by 2 games with three to play.