The Modesto Nuts will have to wait at least one more day before officially welcoming their 5 millionth fan into John Thurman Field.
The Nuts sold 3,674 tickets -- leaving them 524 short of having sold 5 million tickets in the history of the franchise. It was just as well; those who came to the ballpark saw the Nuts lose to the San Jose Giants, 3-1, Saturday night.
The series between the Giants and Nuts is is shaping up to be the defining battle for the California League's Northern Division. The Giants lead the series 5-4, but the series is remarkably close. Saturday night's game was no exception.
The Nuts scored first when Maikol Gonzalez tripled and came home on a fielder's choice by Hector Gomez. Unfortunately, that was it for the Nuts.
San Jose went ahead with 2 in the fourt, as Angel Villalona hit a two-run homer to left center.
The teams had played late Friday night, when another sellout crowd of 4,243 came out to celebrate Noche de Beisbol. The Nuts rallied from a four-run deficit to tie the game in the sixth inning, then scored a run in the 12th on an infield error to grab a 6-5 victory in a game that ended at 11:30 p.m. -- four hours, 20 minutes after it started.
Modesto's game-winning rally began when Hector Gomez lined a one-out single to right off Craig Whitaker (1-1.) Gomez went to third when Brian Rike singled to center, then scored when a two-out ground ball off the bat of Jay Cox was mishandled by shortstop Brian Bocock.
Sean Jarrett (2-0,) the sixth Modesto pitcher, earned the victory by pitching a scoreless 12th, including two strikeouts. Six Nuts' pitchers combined to strike out 17 Giants, while Modesto hitters whiffed only three times.
Blackmon had four hits and Gomez three for Modesto. Roger Kieschnick and Trent Kline had three hits apiece for the Giants.
The sellout was the third in the Nuts' last four home games, a first in the 63-year history of minor league baseball in Modesto. The series resumes today at 1:05 and concludes Monday at 7:05 p.m.