SAN JOSE -- Winning close games will be stressed by the Modesto Nuts during the California League's second half.
The Nuts closed the first half Saturday night with a 3-2 loss at San Jose in a theme that was repeated over the season's first three months. Modesto (34-36) went 9-16 in one-run games, compared to the Giants' league-best 16-6.
San Francisco Giants reliever Dan Runzler pitched a scoreless eighth. In fact, the final seven Nuts were retired in order after Jayson Langfels tripled home Juan Crousset in the seventh to close the deficit to 3-2.
Modesto starter Christian Bergman (8-5) carried a 1-0 lead into the fourth, thank to a pair of walks and Dallas Tarleton's run-scoring single in the first.
San Jose drew even on Luke Anders' RBI single in the fourth, then plated the eventual winning runs in the fifth. Joe Panik drove in a run with a ground out to put the Giants ahead to stay, followed by Adam Duvall's RBI double.
The Nuts managed only six hits off Shawn Sanford (5-4) and three relievers.
Modesto finished in third place in the North Division behind San Jose and champion Bakersfield. It was the Blaze's first half-title since 2001, when they were managed by current Nuts boss Lenn Sakata.
While most of the Nuts enjoy a four-day break, pitchers Bergman and Tyler Matzek travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., for the California League-Carolina League All-Star Game on Tuesday night. Bergman and Matzek are the only two Californians on the Cal League all-star team.
Modesto opens the second half Thursday night at Thurman Field with the first of four games against the Stockton Ports.