The way the 2011 season began, it looked like it was going to be a tight race in the California League South Division.
The gap has been getting bigger and bigger in recent days. The Quakes (17-10) won their third straight on Wednesday, defeating Lancaster 10-1. The win increased the Quakes’ lead over the second place 66ers (13-14) to four games.
The Quakes scored all of their runs in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 9th innings, at least two runs each time. Rafael Ynoa was 3 for 5 with two runs and an RBI to lead the way for the Quakes, while Ramon Jean hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot. Gorman Erickson, Tony Delmonico and Jake Lemmerman added two hits apiece and Nick Buss drove in three runs. Quakes starter Allen Webster (4-2) pitched five shutout innings, allowing four hits while striking out seven.
The Sixers, meanwhile, dropped an epic battle by a 9-7 score to Stockton in 13 innings at Arrowhead Credit Union Park. The Sixers held an early 5-2 lead, then fell behind 7-6. They rallied in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. Kole Calhoun’s third hit of the game, a leadoff double in the ninth led to P.J. Phillips’ game-tying sacrifice fly.
While Phillips tied the score in the ninth, he blew an opportunity to win it in the 12th.
With the score still tied in the 12th, Phillips led off with a double to left, a shot that looked like it might’ve gone out, but instead hit the wall. He went to third on Mitch Blackburn’s infield single with one out, then Justin Bass lofted a fly ball to right. Only Phillips went part way down the line and didn’t tag up to try and score until it was too late and he had to hold. Jean Segura lined out to end the threat.
Stockton scored two in the top of the 13th against reliever Johnny Hellweg (1-2). The go-ahead run scored on Connor Crumbliss’ run-scoring single with one out. Hellweg worked three innings of relief, allowing two runs, one earned.
The game looked like a pitchers battle from the outset, with two of the top seven pitchers in the league in ERA starting. But Redlands-born Stockton starter Daniel Straily allowed six runs in four innings and Sixers starter Manuel Flores allowed five earned runs in five innings.