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Modesto bats catch breeze

It was too windy Saturday night for postgame fireworks to be launched at John Thurman Field as advertised.

If only the Modesto Nuts could rely on such an excuse for their lack of firepower.

For the second consecutive game, the Nuts were limited to only three hits, and Visalia pushed across two runs in the ninth to pull out a 3-1 victory before 2,986 fans.

"We have to take some positives out of this, but it's hard to win when you score one run a night," said Nuts manager Jerry Weinstein.

The Oaks embarked on their game-winning rally with two outs and nobody aboard against Modesto pitcher David Patton.

Pedro Ciriaco reached on an infield single, and advanced all the way to third base when second baseman Eric Young Jr. kicked the ball down the right-field line. Greg Thomson followed with a routine ground ball to first base that hit the lip of the infield grass and bounced over the head of first baseman Phillip Cuadrado.

"In the ninth inning, the baseball gods came down and told us, 'No matter what, we weren't going to win tonight,'" Weinstein said.

Justin Upton followed with a triple to left-center to drive in the insurance run.

Both starters went five effective innings.

Brandon Durden gave up four hits and four walks for the Nuts, while Brooks Brown allowed only three hits and walked two with seven strikeouts for Visalia.

"Durden had a good, bad night," Weinstein said. "He didn't pitch well, but they didn't score on him. He scuffled and got the most out of what he had tonight."

Modesto took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Lino Garcia singled with two outs, stole second and scored on Jason Van Kooten's single through the left side. The Oaks got the tying run in the sixth off reliever Brett Strickland, as Bryan Byrne scooted home from third on Jereme Milons' infield single.

That was all either starter allowed. The difference in the game was that — for the second night in a row — the Nuts were held hitless by the Visalia bullpen.

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

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