Modesto Nuts lose in 12th

bvanderbeek@modbee.comApril 26, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textBrian VanderBeek
    Title: Staff writer
    Coverage areas: Sports, including preps, colleges and the Modesto Nuts
    Bio: Brian VanderBeek joined The Bee in 1996 after previously working at The Home News-Tribune and The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, the (Dover) Delaware State News and the Hanford Sentinel. He is a graduate of Ripon High, Modesto Junior College and holds a degree in journalism from Fresno State.
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    E-mail: bvanderbeek@modbee.com

Devin Harris played in three different levels of the minor leagues for the San Francisco Giants in 2012, even getting into a game with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies.

He's started 2013 as if he'd like to climb that ladder again.

The San Jose right fielder clubbed two long home runs Friday night, including a two-run blast in the 12th, to give the Giants a 6-4 victory over the Modesto Nuts at John Thurman Field.

Harris now has a team-leading six home runs this season, but the former 48th round draft pick never would have been in position to be a hero if the Nuts hadn't squandered huge scoring opportunities in the 10th and 11th innings.

Instead, it will go down as yet another disheartening loss for Modesto, which is riding a string of bad luck and poor hitting through the entire month of April.

Jordan Ribera had an RBI single in the first and Taylor Featherston scored all the way from first base for forge a 2-2 tie in the sixth when a double by Sam Mende was bobbled in left field.

San Jose flexed its muscles against Nuts reliever Nelson Gonzalez, getting a solo homer off the scoreboard from Harris in the seventh, and another solo shot from Angel Villalona in the eighth.

With the Nuts' hitting in the doldrums since the start of the season, the Giants' 4-2 lead seemed secure, but Modesto responded to the cheers of the 4,573 in attendance with a rally in the eighth.

With one out, Tyler Massey singled and was balked to second, and Taylor Featherston singled to right, taking second when the throw went toward home as Massey stayed at third.

One out later, Ribera's single to left scored both runs, forging a 4-4 tie and setting up the wildest scoreless inning Thurman Field has seen in a while.

Brian Humphries led off the 10th with a double and Massey walked. Featherston attempted to bunt the runners along, but the ball caromed straight down and Giants' catcher Jeff Arnold lunged from behind home plate to smother the ball in an attempt to get the lead runner.

Instead, Arnold made contact with the ball and it squirted behind home plate, allowing Featherston to reach first base. San Jose manager Andy Skeels came out to argue and was ejected by home plate umpire Ben Guttenberger.

And then it got weird. Pitcher Drew Bowlin proceeded to retire the next three Nuts batters, stranding Humphries at third base. Perhaps moved by the emotion of the inning, Bowlin allowed his emotions to show, yelling and pointing as he strode off the mound.

A couple of the Nuts took exception and began to yell back, at which time Bowlin took a step toward the Modesto dugout and was ejected by Guttenberger.

The Nuts were any kind of execution away from winning it in the 11th after Trevor Story led off with a pinch-hit triple to right-center. He eventually was thrown out at home plate on a ground ball and the Nuts would go on to leave the bases loaded for the second straight inning.

By the time the game entered the 12th inning, Modesto had collected 12 hits, but was three-for-14 with runners in scoring position and had struck out 12 times, which is close to their season's average.Nuts' offense worst in league through 21 games, but no panic — yet. See Brian VanderBeek's blog at modbee.com/blogs

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