The rain was falling at John Thurman Field, much as it had all night, but Keith Weiser wasn't worried about staying dry -- it was much too late for that.
Weiser, who had lost his last four outings for the Modesto Nuts, was one out away from throwing his first career shutout, and having it come against the San Jose Giants would be a nice bonus.
Well, to shorten the story, Weiser didn't get the shutout. Instead, he had to settle for an impressive victory in Modesto's 4-1 win Saturday night.
The shutout ended with two outs and a runner at third base in the top of the ninth. San Jose's Ryan Rohlinger reached out on a 2-2 pitch and hit a high chop up the middle of the diamond. Weiser reacted quickly and reached for the ball, only to have it tip off the end of his glove. Rohlinger reached safely, and the run scored.
"It is a game of inches," Weiser said. "That was frustrating because I did my best to get that ball. Maybe I should have let it go because maybe someone behind me would have had a better chance at getting him, but it was hard to tell. It was just a reaction play."
Weiser (3-6) stayed in for one more batter, who singled, setting the stage for Andrew Johnston to get his 11th save in as many chances by retiring one hitter.
The crowd of 1,976, already small by Saturday standards, had thinned considerably by the time Weiser took his gem into the ninth inning against the California League's top hitting team.
"I wanted the shutout so bad because I haven't had one," said Weiser, who led all Colorado minor leaguers with 17 wins for Asheville in 2007.
The win gave Modesto a 3-1 series victory over the Giants, a team that beat the Nuts four in a row last week in San Jose. Modesto now has defeated San Jose in seven of their eight meetings this season at John Thurman Field.
As an aside to Weiser's performance, the win was the 100th in Jerry Weinstein's stint as Nuts manager. But after notching 831 wins in 29 seasons at Sacramento City College, Weinstein (100-89) was not quite ready to put 100 wins in Modesto up among his career highlights.
"Obviously, you keep track of things like that," Weinstein said. "One hundred wins won't float my boat."
Modesto scored all of its runs in the third inning off Tim Alderson (6-2), a first-round draft pick of San Francisco in last year's draft.
Alderson sailed through the first two innings, but gave up a single to Matt Repec to open the third. Jay Cox followed with a single, and one out later both scored on Geoff Strickland's double to right-center field.
With two out, Mike Paulk lined an RBI double to left-center, and Victor Ferrante walked. When Michael McKenry worked a full count before drilling an RBI single to left, Alderson was finished, having thrown 41 pitches in the inning to that point.
"He didn't locate the ball in that inning and we did a good job against him," Weinstein said. "It looked like he got a little flustered and we took advantage of it."
Following Rohlinger's infield single, Brett Pill singled sharply to left to end Weiser's night. Johnston got pinch-hitter Andy D'Alessio on a fly ball to right field to close out the win.
And for one, Weiser was impressed that Weinstein has reached 100 wins.
"That's a great milestone," Weiser said. "I'm glad I could be a part of it."