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Nuts chop down Oaks in 10-run rout

Jeff Kindel's right forearm is so swollen and discolored it looks like a peach ripe for picking in about two days.

The bruise is a result of being hit by a pitch Thursday night in Stockton, and if you look very closely you might see the mirror-image signature of California League president Joe Gagliardi.

It kept Kindel out of the lineup for one game, but he came back Saturday with a four-hit game and figured in all of Modesto's scoring rallies as the Nuts pounded Visalia 11-1 behind Brandon Hynick.

The win gives Modesto a four-game lead over Visalia and San Jose in the race for the second-half North Division title as Hynick became the league's first 13-game winner.

When Kindel stepped to the plate to open the fifth inning, the Nuts were trailing 1-0 and were searching for any kind of offense off Visalia starter Matt Torra, who retired the first 12 batters he faced.

Torra's dominance was so complete that Nuts manager Jerry Weinstein suggested to Kindel that he might be best served by trying to bunt his way aboard.

"He tells me to bunt a lot," Kindel said. "But in that inning the third baseman was actually playing in a little bit."

Instead Kindel drove a 0-1 pitch off the wall in center for a triple that opened the floodgates. He would score the tying run on a single by Jose Valdez, then the Nuts took control in a five-run sixth.

Eric Young Jr. reached on an infield error to start the inning. After a strikeout, Torra walked two batters to load the bases, and Kindel delivered a two-run single to right field. A third run scored when the throw home got away, and Kindel waltzed home when Daniel Carte doubled to end Torra's evening.

The Nuts weren't done, adding one more run in the inning. Kindel then had an RBI single in the three-run seventh and another run-scoring single in the two-run eighth. In all, the Nuts collected 14 hits — all after the fourth inning.

Hynick worked seven innings and allowed seven hits, including at least one in each of his last six innings. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk.

"It was an extremely well-pitched game for Brandon because it was not an easy game for him," Weinstein said. "He had great stuff and to me that was his best split-finger fastball of the season. He knows how to pitch out of trouble."

Tomas Santiago eased through the eighth and righty James Burok struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth in his first appearance for Modesto.

Kindel's bruise appeared to be a bad omen for the first baseman, whose 26-game hitting streak was snapped the game prior to him being struck by the pitch. Instead, the four-hit game raised his average to .311.

"It doesn't hurt to swing," Kindel said. "It only hurts when I bend it, and I don't do that too much."

To comment, follow the link with this story at modbee.com. Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at bvanderbeek @ modbee.com or at 578-2300.

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